A durable power of attorney is a written legal document that gives another person the right and authority to act on your behalf even when you lack capacity. It can be limited to special circumstances or it can be general. This means that if you were suddenly unable to handle your own affairs, someone you trust — your legal agent or attorney-in-fact — could do so for you.
You may choose another option to set up a springing power of attorney. It would only become effective at a specified future date or event (your loss of capacity, for example). You can authorize your agent to simply pay your bills. (This is usually a safer arrangement than adding someone else’s name to your bank account.) Or you can empower your agent to handle nearly all of your affairs. Your agent, however, cannot take anything of yours as a “gift” without your specific written authorization.
Either way, these powers of attorney all expire when you die.
Be absolutely certain that your chosen agent is both capable and trustworthy.
If you set up a living trust, it is the trustee who will provide the necessary management of the assets held in trust. However, even if you have a living trust, you should still consider setting up a durable power of attorney for property management as well to handle limited financial transactions and to deal with assets that may not have been transferred to your living trust, such as retirement accounts.