What Is Express Authority?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 February 2020
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Express authority is a situation in which an individual or entity provides definitive and unambiguous privileges of representation to a particular party, with the ability to make decisions on behalf of that entity within a clearly defined scope of situations. Typically, express authority is provided in a written format that is considered legally binding, or at the very least provided verbally with witnesses who can attest that the authority was extended voluntarily on the part of the entity. Authority of this type of usually provided to an agent or legal counsel who can then use these privileges to act in the best interests of the client.

The concept of express authority is very different from that of implied authority. With the former, there is evidence that the right to act in the name of the individual, business, or other organization was intentionally provided to a specific party, usually with specific limitations on the scope of that authority. In the case of the latter, the implied authority does not have the benefit of specific events that confirm the transfer of authority to the agent or counsel, but draws the conclusion that the authority is there based on past relationships between the parties involved. In various legal situations, both forms of authority are recognized, although providing implied authority is sometimes more difficult than presenting evidence of express authority.


There are a number of situations in which express authority can be very helpful. Company owners who plan to be away for a period of time may bestow this type of authority on a trusted employee in the interim, making it possible for that employee to deal with certain types of operational and other business matters in the absence of the owner. In like manner, an individual who is facing a long recuperative period from an illness may choose to transfer authority for managing finances and other types of assets to a trusted relative or other loved one for the duration of that recuperation, making sure that the interests of the patient are protected at all times. Attorneys can provide counsel on any laws and regulations regarding the extension of express authority that may exist in the jurisdiction in which the parties reside, and aid in drafting the necessary documents to ensure the transfer of authority is managed in a manner that protects the rights of both the agent and the individual granting the authority.


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