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An attorney in fact is an agent authorized to act on behalf of another person, but not necessarily authorized to practice law, e.g. a person authorized to act by a power of attorney. Therefore an attorney in fact, which is not necessarily a lawyer, is a pure fiduciary: an attorney in fact does not require special qualifications. An attorney in fact can be a beneficiary’s acquaintance, in which case it is usually a friend or family member.

For example, Person A might give a power of attorney to Person B that allows Person B to manage Person A's bank accounts. In this example, Person A is the principal, and Person B is the attorney-in-fact.

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]