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October 13, 2022
What is Estate Planning? Understanding the Basics
No financial plan is complete without an Estate Plan, which directs what will happen to your assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. It’s not the most fun topic to think about, but it’s important for everyone to consider. We’re here to cover the basics you’ll need to know as you get started with estate planning: intestacy, wills, trusts, and planning for incapacity.
What happens if you die without an estate plan in place? That’s called Intestacy, and it can be a lengthy and inconvenient process for your loved ones. Imagine that you leave $50,000 in a savings account when you die. Who does the money go to? Without instructions from you, the money would go where your state’s intestacy laws direct it to go.
Although laws vary from state to state, a common pattern of distribution divides property between the surviving spouse and children. The intestacy process can be lengthy and create stress for the family, as it’s not designed to accommodate the nuances of relationships or family dynamics. There’s a very simple way to avoid intestacy, though. You can create a will.
A will is probably the most vital piece of anyone’s estate plan. It’s a legal document in which you direct how your property will be dispersed when you die. Your will:
- Directs how your property will be distributed
- Names executor and guardian for minor children
- Can accomplish other estate planning goals (such as minimizing taxes)
Your will must be in writing and signed by you to be valid, and your signature must also be witnessed. It’s a good idea to have an attorney help you along the way to make sure you can avoid any common “do-it-yourself” mistakes that may invalidate your will.
A trust is a fiduciary agreement that allows a third party, the trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can be arranged in various ways to specify exactly how and when your assets pass along to your beneficiaries — and on what terms. With a trust, you can:
- Create terms for management and control of your assets
- Minimize the estate tax burden
- Avoid probate court
- Save time for your loved ones and increase their privacy
There’s a misconception that trusts are only for the very wealthy, but many families could benefit from having a trust in place.
Planning for incapacity
Finally, you’ll want to have a plan in place for incapacity — a situation where you couldn’t make your own financial or medical decisions. It can happen to anyone unexpectedly. When you don’t have a plan in place, your loved ones are left to make difficult decisions on your behalf without awareness of your wishes. You can avoid this situation by including health-care directives and financial instructions in your Estate Plan.
Questions? Contact a CFS Financial Advisor.
Grow has contracted with CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS) to provide investment services, and your CFS Financial Advisor will help you build a plan that meets your needs. The advisor will look at your current spending, saving and investing, learn about your goals and priorities, make objective recommendations and support your efforts moving forward through the implementation and management of your plan.
Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. For specific tax advice, please consult a qualified tax professional.
How to Find Your Routing & Account Numbers
When you make a payment online, by phone or on a mobile device, you may be asked for our routing number and your checking account number. Credit unions and banks use these numbers to identify accounts and make sure money gets where it’s supposed to be. You’ll also need to provide your routing and checking account numbers for:
- Direct deposits
- Electronic checks
- Military allotments
- Wire transfers
Where to Find Your Routing & Checking Account Numbers
Your personal checks include both our routing number and your account number, as shown on the Grow check example below.
Don’t have a Grow check? No worries.
Visit any Grow store and ask for a Direct Deposit Form. It lists both your routing number and checking account number.
Making a Loan Payment
When it comes to making payments, we try to make it as painless as possible to pay your loan every month. We have several different ways to pay, including convenient online options.
You have two ways to pay online by transferring funds from another bank or credit union.
- Grow Online Banking (Preferred payment method for any loan)
This is the simplest way to pay your loan. You can make one-time payments or set up automatic recurring payments in Grow Online Banking. Once you log in, select “Transfer/Payments” from the menu. If you’re not enrolled in Grow Online Banking yet, you can set up your account in just a few minutes.
- Debit Card or ACH (Available for auto, personal loans and HELOCs)
Note: ACH and debit card payments are not available for credit cards or most mortgages, except HELOCs.
We accept ACH payments with no additional fees or Mastercard® and Visa® debit cards with a convenience fee of $4.95. To get started with an online ACH or debit card payment, select Pay Now below.
Pay by Mail
You can also pay any Grow loan by check through the mail. Please remember to include your account number and Grow loan number on the check. (For credit card payments, please do not write your 16-digit credit card number on the check, which can cause a delay in processing the payment.)
Address for auto, credit card, personal loan and HELOC payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 75466
Chicago, IL 60675-5466
Address for personal first or second mortgages and home equity payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 11733
Newark, NJ 07101-4733