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There are a number of cases in which the designation of an attorney in fact can be helpful. This is an individual who has been granted authority by way of a power of attorney to act on behalf of another person. In some cases, this authority is granted for a specified period of time, while in other instance, the individual may function as the attorney in fact until the privilege is revoked. There are a number of tasks that this job may entail, as well as a few scenarios in which designating one may be in the bests interests of the individual.
Attorneys in fact are often engaged for the purpose of conducting financial business when the owner will not be available for a period of time. This may involve the authority to manage property, make investments, or execute documents on behalf of a person or an organization. Typically, the agreement between the individual and the person will set specific parameters on what the scope of authority that is being granted.
For example, the attorney in fact may be granted access to bank accounts for the purpose of paying monthly bills or managing an investment portfolio without having to consult anyone on how the cited affairs will be conducted. It is not unusual for the person to function with both a start date and an ending date to the authority. In some cases, there will not be an ending date specified, but it is always understood that the originator of the agreement has the ability to revoke the authority at any time.
Most jurisdictions require very little in the way of qualifications for the attorney in fact. Generally, the designate must be of legal age to perform the responsibilities outlined in the agreement. It is not necessary to be a practicing attorney in order to fill this role, although it is not unusual for attorneys to take on this responsibility for valued clients when the need arises.
An individual may choose to designate an attorney in fact due to a temporary illness, or in the case that an individual plans to be out of the country for an extended period of time. The person can continue to make sure that financial commitments are met, and that financial resources are managed properly. In many instances, an attorney in fact will render some form of accounting, such as a periodic status report. However, unless this is specifically addressed in the agreement, he or she is under no legal obligation to do so.