August 03, 2022

Should I select the same individual as my power of attorney and successor trustee?

Some of the responsibilities of your attorney-in-fact and successor trustee appear to overlap. Therefore, there can be benefits to appointing the same individual as both your attorney-in-fact and successor trustee.

Your attorney-in-fact and successor trustee are both critical roles in your estate plan.

Your attorney-in-fact has a wide range of financial and legal powers, as granted in the language of your Power of Attorney document. For example, this may allow your attorney-in-fact to act on your behalf immediately or reserve these powers to “kick in” only if you are “incapacitated.”

Your successor trustee manages any assets owned by your Trust. The language of your Trust document controls this responsibility and its associated powers. Your successor trustee can become the active trustee if you are “incapacitated,” if you resign as trustee, or if you are dead.

There can be confusion about which role should address various situations, particularly when assets need to move in or out of your Trust.

While these roles are clearly defined by their respective documents, appointing the same individual in both positions can simplify the process.


This article represents the opinion of the author and is intended for educational purposes. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. One should always consult with an experienced attorney before making estate planning decisions.

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