In most states, an attorney-in-fact (or agent) does not have to sign a power of attorney to act under it.
The exceptions to this rule are:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Pennsylvania, and
And even in these states, an attorney-in-fact (or agent) does not need to sign the document unless or until he or she needs to use it.
The person named as alternate attorney-in-fact never needs to sign the power of attorney document unless he or she has become the actual attorney-in-fact (or agent) who will act on behalf of the principal.
- Joanie lives in California. She makes a power of attorney for finances that names her brother John as her agent and her sister Beverly as the alternate agent. Joanie signs the document and has it notarized. As agent, John does not need to sign the power of attorney unless Joanie becomes incapacitated and needs him to manage her finances. Years later, when Joanie does need help, John has already passed away, making Beverley next in line to act as agent. Beverly signs the power of attorney and can then manage Joanie's finances on her behalf.