What is an Agent?

An agent is a person (or business) who is authorized to act on behalf of another person.  A general agent is an agent who is authorized to conduct multiple transactions involving a continuity of service.  For instance, a general agent might be someone who has guardianship or conservatorship of another person and is responsible for writing checks or making financial decisions for the ward.

A special agent is authorized to conduct a single transaction or a series of transactions not involving continuity of service.  An agent who has been given a limited power of attorney for the purpose of closing a real estate transaction would be considered a special agent.

Master, Servant and Independent Contractor
Two types of agency relationships include the Master and the Servant.  A Master is a principal who employes an agent to perform service in the Master's affairs and who controls or has the right to control the physical conduct of the other in the performance of the service.

A Servant is an agent employed by a Master to perform service in his affairs whose physical conduct in the performance of the service is controlled or is subject to the right to control by the Master.

Another type of relationship is that of the Independent Contractor.  An Independent Contractor is a person who contracts with another to do something for him but who is not controlled by the other nor subject to the other's right to control with respect to his physical conduct in the performance of the undertaking.  The Independent Contractor may or may not be an agent.
© CORPUS JURIS. All rights reserved.