Hey everyone! Welcome to another episode
of The Ask Amity Show! My name is Edmund. I’m Jennifer. I’m Cindy. –And we’re the attorneys here at Amity Law Group
in Rosemead, California. Today, the topic is: What is the difference between
a trustee and a power of attorney? You know that’s a very common question that a lot of our clients ask us, especially when we’re
setting up their living trusts, preparing their durable power of attorney and so I
think this is a very good topic for us to talk about today.
So Jennifer, would you like to start? –Sure! So I think the first thing we need to talk
about is the difference between the trust and the power of attorney. So the
trustee is the one that you appoint for your trust. And the power of attorney,
obviously, the agent is for your power of attorney for financial matters. So, the
trustee that you appoint is when, let’s say you’re in a disabled condition or
you pass away, then you appoint somebody to help manage your trust assets, right?
The power of attorney only comes into play when– during your lifetime. So not
when you pass away but maybe when you’re disabled and you can no longer handle and
manage your own finances. Then in that situation, your power of attorney agent can take your power of attorney document and go to the bank and, you know, sign off on
your checks, pay your taxes. And there’s a long list of financial matters that they
can manage for you during your lifetime but with the trustee, it’s when you are
still– when you’re either disabled, or you passed away then the trustee comes into
play. And they manage your trust assets. So trust assets only. Cindy? –And your power of attorney agent typically can handle your assets, your affairs,
your financial affairs that aren’t necessarily in the trust, but a
lot of times our clients do end up having assets that are outside their
trust. So that would fall into the the privy of the agent(s) for the power of
attorney. A lot times there are things
that you can’t really place in the trust, like who’s going to file your
taxes while you’re, while you’re still alive and not quite gone,
or maybe disabled. And that person can sign on your behalf. –Yeah, I think the important thing
to think about when you’re… regarding this trustee and power of attorney issue is, the whole point of this is to make
sure that if something happens to you, you know, whether it’s disability or
death, you want to make sure that you’ve appointed someone beforehand that you
trust to manage your assets, make sure that your kids, your spouse,
are taken care of. Someone who’s responsible, someone…
whether or not it’s your friend, whether or not it’s your CPA, or just a family member, or even your child.
You want to make sure that you protect yourself beforehand and have someone
that you trust to manage all your affairs. –And a lot of times the agent of the power of attorney, or the trustee, they are the same people, that’s fine!
Sometimes they’re not. But if they are, then that’s fine too. –Yeah, and a lot of times we would advise our clients to, you know, pick one,
two, or even three. So for example, you’ll have a primary trustee, a primary
power of attorney, and if they can’t serve, then at least you have second options
and third options. So the first one could be your spouse. The second one,
if your spouse can’t or won’t act, then it could be your children or it could be
your niece, your nephew, or anyone that you trust. So, I think the takeaway of this
episode is, not only knowing the difference between a trustee and a power of attorney, but to make sure that you plan ahead and appoint someone that you trust to make
your decisions on your behalf, if necessary. Alight, well that’s it for this episode!
Thank you for joining us. If you have any questions that you’d
like us to answer about estate planning, just leave a comment below and we’ll
try to answer it on our next show! See you then! you