A general durable power of attorney or GDPA is a document that allows the person named (Attorney-in-Fact) to deal with accounts in the principal’s name.
The principal is the person who creates the GDPA. It also allows the Attorney-in-Fact (AIF) to act in the principal’s capacity when the principal cannot. For example, the AIF could sue a doctor for malpractice if the doctor injured the principal and the principal is now incapacitated and can’t sue for him or herself.
If you create a Living Trust and a GDPA then the Trustee will act over all assets in the trust but the AIF would act over assets that cannot be in the trust (your IRA for example). If you have put your assets into your trust and never become incapacitated, it is possible that your GDPA would never have to be used. It is one of those just-in-case documents that can save a lot of expense (Court) and headaches (Court) and money (Court). Without a GDPA, a representative of your estate would have to file a Conservatorship to deal with the assets not in your trust.