An individual can designate someone to sign forms for him by executing a power of attorney, according to FindLaw. The parties execute a power of attorney by signing a contract that names the parties and the powers to be granted, as the Elder Law Practices of Timothy L. Takacs explains. The law refers to the individual who creates the power as the principal, and it refers to the recipient as the attorney-in-fact.
The attorney-in-fact must be a competent adult at least 18 years of age, and the principal can designate one using a limited, general or durable power of attorney, the Elder Law Practices of Timothy L. Takacs notes.
A power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to act on the principal's behalf for a specific act such as signing a contract or for a range of legal, business and medical decisions, the Elder Law Practices of Timothy L. Takacs explains. A limited power of attorney is smaller in scope, whereas a general power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact a broad range of powers to act on the principal's behalf. The principal must be competent when he executes the power of attorney. Limited and general powers of attorney end if the principal is no longer competent.
A durable power of attorney allows the attorney-in-fact to continue acting on the principal's behalf if the principal becomes incapacitated, says the Elder Law Practices of Timothy L. Takacs.