If I Have a Trust and Have Appointed a Successor Trustee, Do I Still Need a Durable Power of Attorney?

Yes, you still need a Durable Power of Attorney because even if you have established a well-funded trust and have nominated a Successor Trustee to act as Trustee in case of your incapacity, invariably some property will be intentionally or unintentionally left outside of the trust. For this property (most often retirement accounts smaller checking accounts and personal property) banks and financial institutions will look to a valid Durable Power of Attorney in order to determine who has the authority to collect and manage the property. A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that appoints an agent or attorney- in-fact to manage the principal’s financial affairs during any period of incapacity. It is called “durable” because it will survive during periods of capacity and incapacity. The Durable Power of Attorney is the document used to show authority to manage these non-trust assets. Where only a Will has been drafted, the Durable Power of Attorney becomes doubly important because it is the sole authorization for an agent to manage the principal’s financial affairs while the principal is incapacitated. Remember, a person’s Will does not become effective until the person’s death.