Is a Durable Power Of Attorney the same as a Revocable Trust?

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Is a Durable Power Of Attorney the same as a Revocable Trust?

Asked on January 23, 2016 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They are totally different:
A revocable trust takes certain defined assets and puts them into a trust--a legal entity--whose investment, use, pay-out, etc. of those assets is defined by rules set up in the trust instrument, and which is controlled by one or more trustees you appoint. Because it is revocable, you can revoke, or cancel, it and take back the assets, but until/unless you do that, you can think of it as putting some of your assets into a small "company"--a separate legal entity--set up for some purpose and with managers (the trustees) you selected.
A power of attorney gives the designated "attorney in fact" the authority to do things for you and with your money & property as if that person was in fact you: they can pay your bills or rent or mortgage or taxes, file a lawsuit for you or defend against a lawsuit against you, make repairs to your house, manage your property, etc. Because it is durable, it lasts until the earlier of your cancelling it or you passing away. (It doesn't simply expire.) Bascially, you create a "double" of yourself for business or legal purposes, who can act as if he/she were you.


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