The Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a written authorization that appoints a person or organization to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so.

However not all POA’s are created equal, and some give your attorney or the person who will be making decisions on your behalf a different level of control. For example, an individual can state in the written POA that the agent’s authority is temporary, and effective only for a period of time; while others can say it lasts for a longer period- even indefinitely. This individual could also limit their own authority to a specified matter, such as simply endorsing one check. 

When would someone ask an agent under a POA to endorse a check? 

Simple: any time it is the most practical or convenient way to proceed. 

People use POA’s to authorize a family member or trusted friend to handle their financial affairs, but they must be mentally competent initially to make a POA, and specify that the authority applies to any future period when the maker becomes incompetent. 

How to Endorse a Check as a Power of Attorney

When you’re endorsing a check as a power of attorney, you are signing as the agent for the person to whom the check is issued. If that person is named Joe Schmo, and your name is Jane Doe, you can use either of these formats to endorse the check:

  • Joe Schmo by Jane Doe under POA, or 
  • Jane Doe, attorney-in-fact for Joe Schmo

To do this, you can use one of two procedures listed above: you can sign the person’s name first, then follow it with “by [your name] under POA”; or you can sign your own name first, then identify yourself as “attorney-in-fact for [the person’s name for whom you are attorney-in-fact.]

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