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Letter or Power of Attor Ney

authority, attorney, principal and agent

LETTER or POWER OF ATTOR NEY is an instrument by which one per son authorises another to do some act for him : it may be used in any lawful trans action, as to execute a deed, to collect rents or debts, to sell estates, and other like matters. The authority must be strictly followed, for the principal is only bound by the acts of his agent to the ex tent to which the letter of attorney autho rises him, and if the agent goes beyond his authority he is personally liable to the party with whom he contracts. The power which authorises an attorney or agent to do some particular act impliedly includes an authority to do whatever is incident to that act ; for instance, a power to demand and recover a debt authorises the arrest of the debtor in all cases where it is permitted by law. But a power to receive money and to give releases, or even to transact all business, does not authorise the attorney to negotiate bills received in payment. In fact all written powers, such as letters of attorney or letters of instruction, receive a strict in terpretation; the authority is never ex tended beyond that which is given in terms, or is absolutely necessary for carrying the authority into effect. An attorney, unless power be specially given him for that purpose, cannot delegate his authority or appoint a substitute, and, generally speaking, the words of general authority usually inserted in letters of at torney, after giving the particular autho rity, do not enlarge it.

The authority must be executed during the life of the person who gives it, for the act which is done by the attorney is considered to be the act of him who gives the authority.

Powers of attorney are generally exe cuted under hand and seal, that is, by deed, and where they contain an authority to hind the principal by deed, it is essen tial that they should be so executed. When the agent signs any instrument which is to bind his principal, he must sign it in the name of the principal, and not in his own name.

A power of attorney, unless it be given as a security, is revocable either by the personal interference of the principal or by his granting a new power to another person. But if the power has been given as a security, it has been decided that it is not revocable by the principal.

A letter of attorney is also in general revoked by the bankruptcy of the princi pal, unless it is coupled with an interest. (Paley's Principal and Agent, and the various treatises on mercantile law.)