While powers of attorney are useful tools to allow one person (the attorney-in-fact) to act another person’s behalf (the principal), third-parties are sometimes distrustful of a power of attorney. A power of attorney is relatively easy to create. There are many forms online, including from state bar associations, that seemingly anyone can print and use. Missouri’s power of attorney laws permit “third persons” to rely on a power of attorney and request verification that a given power of attorney is legitimate.
A “third person” in this context refers to any individual, corporation, or legal entity that acts on a request from, contracts with, relies on or otherwise deals with an attorney-in-fact under a power of attorney. Under Section 404.719, RSMo a third person, who is acting in good faith, “may” rely on a power of attorney without liability to the principal.
Although it is quite rare to see, a third person is statutorily authorized to make certain requests to verify the power of attorney. This includes, without limitation, requesting a copy of the principal’s signature and requesting that the attorney-in-fact indemnify the third person.