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February 17, 2009


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Person authorized to act on behalf of another person, usually as stated within a legal document known as a power of attorney (POA). The person giving the authority for the attorney-in-fact to act on his/her behalf is the grantor or principal.

IRS Definition: An agent authorized by a person under a power of attorney to perform certain act(s) or kind(s) of acts for that person (Publication 947)

Referring Cite

State law

Additional Helpful Information

Financial institutions should be consulted to determine if and when they would accept POAs. Many will accept POAs, but only in limited cases. For instance:

  • Some will not use a POA to change a beneficiary designation
  • Some will only allow the attorney-in-fact to complete transactions that are specifically identified in the POA.

Written By

Denise Appleby

Denise is CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc., a firm that provides IRA resources for financial/ tax/legal professionals. She has over 20 years of experience in the retirement plans field, which includes training and technical consultation.

Denise writes and publishes educational /marketing tools for advisors; available at Denise co-authored several books on IRAs

Denise is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, where she obtained a Masters of Jurisprudence in Employee Benefits, and has earned 5 professional retirement designations.
She has appeared on numerous media programs, sharing her insights on retirement tax laws.


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