Difference Between a Power of Attorney & Trustee to a Estate

By Kate Fogle
Difference, a Power, Attorney, a Estate

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A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone legal authority to act for you while you are still alive. The Trustee to an Estate is generally the person authorized to manage your estate’s assets following your death.

Power of Attorney Uses

You may use a POA to appoint an agent for many purposes, including handling a specific financial or legal matter, managing your finances or making health care decisions for you.

POA Timeframe

Your appointed agent acts only for the time period that you specify. You may create a durable POA that authorizes an agent to act if you are incapacitated.

Estate Trustee Responsibilities

Your trustee manages your estate following your death. Responsibilities include gathering assets, collecting debts and paying bills, making investments and filing a regular accounting.

Trustee Timeframe

The trustee’s responsibilities continue until all of your estate’s assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Distribution may be completed shortly after your death or may continue over several generations.

Choosing an Agent or Trustee

You may choose a family member, friend or professional to handle either of these roles. Both agents and trustees must be reliable. Consider the responsibilities you are assigning to the person you appoint and choose someone with appropriate skills and personal qualities.

About the Author

Kate Fogle, an attorney and former English teacher, is the communications director for a non-profit agency in Stockton, Calif. Prior to recent articles on eHow.com, her writing has been published in-house for professional purposes. Fogle is a graduate of UC Davis with a JD from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall.

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