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Estate Planning

No matter your estate planning needs, SECU trust representatives are available to guide you through the process.

Everyone needs an estate plan

Establish your plan now to help protect you and your loved ones from the uncertainties of the future.

What is an estate plan?

Estate plans express your wishes for financial, medical, and legal decisions both during and after your lifetime. They consist of legally binding documents prepared by a qualified attorney.

Who needs an estate plan?

Everyone, regardless of age, income, or wealth. By creating an estate plan, you can appoint someone to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated, as well as name a preferred guardian for your children and determine who will receive your assets in the event of your death.

Why have an estate plan?

When life's uncertainties happen, it may be too late to get a plan in place. By planning ahead now, you can help ensure your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of as intended.

Important estate planning documents

Will

A Will is an important legal document that specifies who receives assets after your lifetime and in what proportion. A Will also allows you to make guardianship nominations for minor children.

Trust

A Trust is a legal agreement putting someone you choose in charge of managing assets for you and / or your loved ones.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney, or POA, is a legal document in which you give someone (an “agent”) the ability to act on your behalf in transactions, financial affairs, and more.

Advance Health Care Directives

Advance Health Care Directives (AHCD) are legal documents that allow you to state your health care wishes and appoint a health care agent to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated or unable to communicate.

Update your plan so it keeps up with you

Your needs and circumstances are ever-evolving and may require an update to your estate plan. When certain life events happen, make sure your plan works for you.

  • Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild

  • Marriage or re-marriage

  • Divorce or separation 

  • A move to a new state or country

  • Death of a family member

  • Serious illness or injury

Services we offer

If you need estate planning guidance or services, SECU partners with Members Trust Company to make these fiduciary services available to members.

Estate Planning Essentials (EPE)

Our EPE Program provides members the opportunity to meet with an attorney1 at a local SECU branch to get a plan in place at a predetermined price.

Trust Services

SECU Trust Services through Members Trust Company offers members Corporate Trustee Services, Corporate Executor Services, and more.

Benefits of having an estate plan in place

  •  Take control

    Take control of what happens to your belongings, money, and property by making your wishes known and putting people you trust in charge of handling things for you.

  •  Plan ahead for incapacity

    Estate planning allows you to choose who you would want to manage your financial and legal affairs, as well as make health care decisions for you if you become unable to make decisions and communicate for yourself.

  •  Make guardianship nominations

    Who would you want to take care of your children if you were no longer here? Do you want a say in who that person might be? An estate plan allows you to name your desired guardian for minor children.

  •  Minimize family conflict

    Reduce the chance of conflict or uncertainty by spelling out your wishes in advance. Naming an unbiased corporate trustee and / or executor can also help reduce potential family disagreements.

  •  Protect your loved ones

    Whether you have children from a previous relationship, a loved one with special needs, or a beneficiary who may not act responsibly with inherited money, an estate plan lets you help ensure their needs are provided for according to your wishes.

  •  Express your desires for end-of-life care

    Many of us have strong feelings about end-of-life care. An estate plan with a health care power of attorney and living will lets you make your wishes known in advance and helps to relieve some of the burden from your loved ones at what is often a very difficult time.

  •  Provide peace of mind

    Estate planning provides peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones are provided for and your affairs are in order. You also have the flexibility to make changes as needed to reflect all of life's changes.

Frequently asked questions about Estate Planning

Estate planning is important for everyone. In addition to expressing your wishes for what happens to your assets after your death, an estate plan also allows you to appoint someone to make financial, legal, and medical decisions for you if you become unable to speak for yourself. For parents of young children, an estate plan also allows you to designate your children's guardian should you die when they are still minors. Otherwise, the person you would have chosen might not be the person the court appoints. We are here to help you get started with estate planning.

If you become incapacitated and do not have a Durable Power of Attorney or Health Care Power of Attorney, a court will likely appoint a guardian to act on your behalf, and it may not be the person you would have chosen. With guardianship proceedings, accountings of your finances must be filed with the court and become a matter of public record. Learn more about Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives.

 

Many people don't realize if you pass away without a Will, your state of residence has a plan for you. If you are a resident of North Carolina and die without a Will, your property will pass under the laws of intestate succession in your state of residence, which may mean your assets don’t go to individuals (or family and friends) as you intend.

SECU Trust Services has trust representatives available statewide to discuss a range of trust and estate planning topics, including the Corporate Trustee and Executor Services offered through Members Trust Company. For more information, contact your local branch or call (888) 732-8562 and ask to speak with a trust representative.

We recommend you work with a qualified estate planning attorney to make changes to your estate planning documents to ensure your documents remain legally valid and your wishes are honored.

Getting a plan in place now rather than "someday" is more important than you may think. Life happens. Planning now can help you and your loved ones answer difficult questions when emergencies arise.