How to Check Who Has the Power of Attorney for a Person

By Mike Broemmel ; Updated June 19, 2017
Notary public wax stamp on power of attorney

A power of attorney is an instrument that a person uses to grant authority to an agent to act on his or her behalf. The two different types of instruments are health care and financial powers of attorneys. A third party preparing to transact business or take action in reliance on a power of attorney needs to verify who really does have authority under such an instrument to make decisions for another person.

Request to see the original power of attorney document. A duly authorized agent named in a power of attorney should have the original instrument in his or her possession. If you are being asked to take action by an individual contending he or she is an agent authorized to make decisions through a power of attorney, you must review the original instrument.

Verify the authenticity of the power of attorney document presented to you.

Check the power of attorney records at the register or recorder of deeds in the county where the individual who created the instrument resides. In some states a power of attorney can be filed with the register or recorder of deeds. However, this is not the common practice today.

Contact the individual named as the grantor in the power of attorney. The grantor is the individual who drafted and executed the power of attorney. Though this might seem to defeat the purpose of designating an agent to act on behalf of a grantor via a power of attorney, the typical grantor appreciates a third party taking the time to confirm the authenticity of a power of attorney.

Warning

If a power of attorney does not appear authentic to you, and you cannot independently verify its authenticity, do not transact business with the purported agent. If the power of attorney turns out to be fraudulent, you can be held liable for any losses sustained by the alleged grantor through the transaction.

About the Author

Mike Broemmel began writing in 1982. He is an author/lecturer with two novels on the market internationally, "The Shadow Cast" and "The Miller Moth." Broemmel served on the staff of the White House Office of Media Relations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science from Benedictine College and a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University. He also attended Brunel University, London.