actual authority

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Actual authority is an agent's power to act on behalf of a principal, because such power was expressly or impliedly conferred. Express actual authority is when a principal directly tells the agent that they have the authority to take certain action. Implied actual authority is the authority that is based on the agent’s reasonable understanding of the principal’s instructions. 

See also: Express authority; Implied authority; Apparent authority

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]