From attorney (“any personal representative”). Attorney now rarely has that sense outside of fixed expressions like this one.
- (uncountable, law) The legal authorisation of one person to act as the agent of another.
- He confirmed that he had power of attorney.
- (countable, law) A legal document allowing one person to act as the agent of another.
- Here you can apply for a power of attorney.
- A power of attorney is a document, not a person. Thus, if X signs a power of attorney in favour of Y, Y might properly say
- I am X's attorney or
- I hold power of attorney for X, but not
- I am power of attorney for X
- However, this inaccurate use is widespread, even in business and commercial usage.
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