An authorization letter is a document that is written by one person to give authorization to another person to perform a particular task. It’s a legal document that allows someone to do something they would ordinarily not be allowed to do. It is usually given by a person who is not physically present. The main reasons people write letters of authorization are for medical, legal or financial issues.
For example, medical records are private, and a doctor would need an authorization letter from a particular patient in order to send that patient’s medical records to someone else. Along with sending medical records other legal documents may need to be transferred between lawyers and doctors in the case of a personal injury claim, divorce action or a lawsuit. If a person is going on vacation, they may want to allow a friend or family member access to their bank account to pay bills.
Other reasons a person may need to write an authorization letter are:
• To give permission for someone to pick up a child from school
• To give permission for someone to pick up packages at the post office
• To give publishing rights
• To allow school children to go on field trips
• To assign duties at work
• To allow airlines to care for an unattended child on a flight
There are three parties involved in a letter of authorization including the first party, the person granting authority, the second party, the hospital, bank or school involved in the transaction and the third party, the person receiving the authority. The letter is written by the first party to the second party and explains the rights being given to the third party. The third party can be an individual or corporation or other entity. If the second party is not known in the case of an emergency-action letter of authorization, the letter can be addressed To Whom It May Concern.
The letter spells out the specific task that has been assigned to the third party. This can be just about anything, but is usually things like negotiating a contract, taking out a loan in the first party’s name or accessing the first party’s bank account. According to the law, the third party’s actions are binding for the first party. The first party is responsible for anything the third party does while under his or her authorization. For this reason, letters of authorization should not be taken lightly especially if they are financial in nature.
Authorization Letter vs Power of Attorney
There are important differences between a letter of authorization and a power of attorney. With authorization, the specific actions are carried out for a specified time. With power of attorney, the agent can continue to act for the first person in any capacity until the first person revokes the power of attorney. This is done through a written and signed revocation that is sent to the person with the power of attorney and anyone else who knows the agent had power of attorney. In either case, if the first person dies, the power and authorization becomes void.
The letter should include all of the necessary information. For medical records, it should include file number, insurance number and claim information. If it is legal information, the case number should be included and for financial matters the bank account needs to be included. In most cases the authorized person is a friend or family member and is not paid for his or her help. If the third person is to be paid, it must be clearly stated in the letter. Letters of authorization are rarely notarized.
The letter should be short and precise. If it has excess information, there may be more than one way to interpret it, which could cause confusion. The letter should contain:
• The beginning and ending dates of the authorization
• The reason the authorization is being granted
• The duties of the authorized person
Here are some sample authorization letters. It should be typed in formal business style. Since it is an important document, it shouldn’t be hand written. It should follow legal guidelines, so if it is disputed, it will stand up in court. It should be sent by certified mail to both the second and third party, so each party has proof of when it was sent and received.
Sample 1 - Bank Account Authorization Letter
71 Haft Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43068
90 Brice Rd.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068
Re: Master Card 5490-8745-0934-1289
Dear Store Manager,
My dear friend, Joseph Bernardino, is going to be handling my grocery shopping needs for me while I am laid up from surgery. I have to have a surgical procedure that will require me to have complete bed rest for a month. During this time, he will be handling my grocery shopping, as well as my other bill payments during this period. The card he is using is authorized to use is a Master Card issued through Global Bank and it has a $500 limit. I have given him this card and the card number is 5490-8745-0934-1289.
Please authorize Joseph to use this card to purchase items from your store from DATE until DATE. Any purchases after this time period will not be approved by me and will be disputed to the credit card company. I also ask that you always check for identification and a copy of this letter when making any transactions with Mr. Bernardino. He has always been a trustworthy and faithful friend, but I want to make sure that the proper precautions are in place to protect my credit card.
If you should have any questions about this credit card authorization, or you need me to complete another form, I will be more than happy to do so. I can be reached anytime at 740-710-4589. The card he is using is authorized through Global Bank and only has a $500 limit.
Sample 2 - Bank Account Authorization Letter
First Party’s Name
First Party’s Address
City, State, Zip Code
Second Party’s Name
Name of Bank
Second Party’s Address
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Second Party’s Name:
This letter is a formal authorization for Name of Third Party to access my checking account NUMBER at Name of Bank to make my mortgage and car loan payments while I am on vacation between DATE and DATE.
If you have any questions, I can be reached at Phone Number or at Email Address at any time, even while I am on vacation.
I appreciate your help in this matter.
First Party’s Signature
First Party’s Printed Name
Sample 3 - Bank Account Authorization Letter
130 Stewart Rd.
Jackson, Ohio 45640
Oak Hill Banks
12567 St. Rt. 327
Wellston, Ohio 45692
Dear Ms. Jones;
I am writing regarding my account number 305610 that I have with your institution. I have had this account for several years and have enjoyed being a member of this fine bank. I am having some health issues and will have to undergo a major medical procedure. I need to ask that Lisa Smith, my daughter, be appointed representative over my account during my medical down time.
Please allow Lisa to make deposits, withdraw cash, purchase money orders or cashier’s checks and to have full access to my account. I also have 2 safety deposit boxes with your bank, but she doesn’t need access to those at this time. Should I not make it through the surgical procedures, my will allows her access to these boxes. This authorization should be granted from today, DATE until DATE unless otherwise notified.
I appoint Lisa Smith at 9090 David Ave. Jackson, Ohio 45640 to handle my banking. You can reach me on my cell phone at 555-890-7845 if you have any questions. I look forward to continuing my services with you banking institution.
By Andre Bradley