Attorney - Term Overview

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An attorney is a natural or legal person who has the power to act on behalf of someone else. This, mainly in the economic or judicial sphere and within the framework of a contract.

That is, the attorney-in-fact represents another person and has the ability to decide on their behalf. This relationship is based on a written document.

To be more precise, through a power of attorney, the principal or representative (the person who assigns responsibility and decision-making) puts in the hands of the attorney-in-fact the ability to choose in various situations. Said agreement must be registered in the Mercantile Registry.

The powers of the attorney-in-fact depend on the case and the amount of responsibility that each individual grantor decides to grant. Thus, in the power of attorney, the powers assigned and for what type of operations or actions in particular they apply must be specified.

Types of attorney

There are two types of power depending on the degree of independence that is acquired:

- Joint power of attorney: When the attorney-in-fact only needs his own signature to carry out a specific operation.
- Joint or opposed power of attorney: In this case, it would not be enough only with the initiative of the agent, but it would be necessary to sign someone else for any action. It's very common in financial practice.

Role of attorneys

The role of attorneys stands out specially in financial institutions. They commonly work through representatives in their business activity.

For example, when an individual opens a savings account, there is a representative or attorney-in-fact of the bank to validate the management.

Another feature to highlight of this type of agreement is that usually the actions of the attorney-in-fact are also the responsibility of his client or principal.

However, for the above there is an exception. The principal isn't responsible for the decisions of the attorney-in-fact if he breaches the conditions of the power of attorney and acts in excess of the functions assigned to him or acts in bad faith.

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