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Do I Need to Write “Trustee”, “Attorney-in-Fact”, or “POA” after My Signature on Documents?

November 4th, 2015

Posted in Asset Protection,Estate & Personal Planning,General Practice

When you act as a trustee under a Trust or as an attorney-in-fact or POA under a Durable Power of Attorney, you are doing so as a fiduciary and under a legal role where you have certain legal authority. The above question could apply to any documents you sign such as a mortgage, promissory note, contract, or check. The short answer to the above question is – no, you do not need to. However, you may want to (depending on the type of document), and it may better practice to do so. Moreover, what the document actually says may control despite however you may sign.

The main issue of concern is ensuring that you do not become personally liable or otherwise personally involved in the transaction. By writing the designation such as “trustee” or “attorney-in-fact” after your signature, it helps you keep your role as a fiduciary legally distinct from your personal affairs. In other words, the designation can put others on notice that the signer of the document is doing so in only a limited legal capacity and is not personally involved in the transaction.

It is important to note that it may not absolve you of any personal liability. While it can help, it’s always important to analyze the document you are signing, the documents that give you the fiduciary power, and the applicable laws. You should always consider involving a qualified Florida estate planning attorney or lawyer to assist you.

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