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I wonder what do you normally call someone who has been granted the full authority to do all legal affairs and decision makings on behalf of "someone else" or "an organization" in AE?

I have two options here, but I don't have any idea whether they might differ in some legal / semantic aspects or not. Also, I don't know if they are some fixed terms or kind of translations from other languages which cannot be considered as natural English!

  1. Authoritative representative
  2. Plenipotentiary representative

Please kindly enlighten me.

  • "Power of attorney" is a legal term used in the UK. – AdrianHHH Apr 30 at 8:43
  • @AdrianHHH thank you very much for your interest in my questions. Just, as far as I know, the "power of attorney" is the "right" and ability to fulfill legal affairs on behalf of someone who has awarded that to you, not the title itself! I have my doubts if you are a native! Am I right? ;) – A-friend Apr 30 at 10:04
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    I am a UK native, but not a lawyer. As I understand it, people (often, but not only, elderly or infirm) can grant a "power of attorney" to others to look after their affairs. Granting that power is a legal status that is drawn up by a solicitor (lawyer) and registered with some recognised authority. These powers can be conditional on something happening and they can include (or exclude) medical, financial and other matters. One style is where parents grant the power to their (adult) children to make choices if (or when) they become too ill to look after themselves. – AdrianHHH Apr 30 at 12:50
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The name for such a person is proxy:

[Merriam-Webster]
1 : the agency, function, or office of a deputy who acts as a substitute for another
3 : a person authorized to act for another : PROCURATOR

// Since I wouldn't be available to vote, I nominated him to act as my proxy.

Or:

She is a proxy.


Note that proxy can also be used as the name for a document or power in a related sense (the unquoted second sense in the definition), but that's something slightly different.

That sense of the word is synonymous with power of attorney, which was supplied in comments under the question, but you would not say something like she is my power of attorney, because power of attorney doesn't refer to a person.


Also, if you want to keep representative (which is also fine), a more natural phrase would be legal representative. However, if you're talking about authority that isn't strictly limited to legal matters, then proxy covers a wider range of affairs more succinctly.

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  • Thank you Jason! Hence, someone can refer to their lawyer who has been granted a full authority as: "He / she is my proxy" or a company's CEO can refer to his representative through a phone call to the managing director of the second company who his representative has been sent to as: "He / she is our company's proxy". Did I get your point properly? – A-friend Apr 30 at 14:37
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    @A-friend Yes, exactly. – Jason Bassford Apr 30 at 17:43

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