Estate Planning

End of life planning is one of those things that we all tend to put off. No one enjoys thinking about what will happen once they pass away or how they would like their estate handled. Having this difficult conversation with your loved ones is critical in expressing your wishes and how things are to be taken care of after your death. Your WWFCU Financial Gurus are here to help you start planning to ensure your final wishes are carried out as you intended.

The first step in getting your affairs in order is to take an inventory of your assets. Even if you think you don’t have enough assets to be considered an “estate”, you might be quite surprised at what you really do have. Remember to make sure you account for all tangible and intangible items such as:

  • Houses, land or other real estate.
  • Cars, boats, motorcycles, campers, ATV’s.
  • Jewelry, art, antiques or collectables.
  • Any bank accounts, share certificates or IRA’s.
  • Retirement plans like a 401K.
  • Life insurance policies, stocks or bonds.

Secondly, we also recommend compiling a list of all your outstanding liabilities like mortgages, lines of credit or other debts that might not have been paid off yet. Be sure to tell your loved ones where these lists are kept so they know what needs to be handled for you.

Additionally, making sure that your spouse or dependent’s financial needs are met is essential when considering your end-of-life planning. There are a few easy things you can do to make it easier for those loved ones you leave behind such as:

  • Start by writing a will, this may help with laying out your final wishes or even appointing someone who will take guardianship of your children or pets if something were to happen to you.
  • Check your life insurance policies to determine if you will have enough coverage to meet the needs of your dependents and/or spouse.
  • Make sure the beneficiaries listed on your financial accounts, IRA’s and life insurance policies are up to date.
  • Reassessing your estate plan after a big life event such as a wedding, birth of a child or divorce. If your circumstances change, your estate plan may need to be changed as well.

Power of Attorney

Consider appointing someone trusted to act as your Power of Attorney (POA). A general power of attorney gives someone the legal right to make decisions on your behalf. A few different kinds of power of attorney are:

  • A dual power of attorneygives two people the ability to act on your behalf but requires both parties to agree before signing off on decisions.
  • Durable power of attorneystays intact if you were to become incapacitated while a regular POA does not.
  • A medical power of attorneygives someone the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so yourself.
  • Financial power of attorneyallows someone to handle your financial affairs such as everyday banking transactions, buying and selling of real estate or moving assets into a trust account.


Having a trust drawn up is beneficial in settling an estate without involving the probate court after someone passes away. Without a signed trust, it is up to the probate court to decide how your estate will be disbursed. The probate process can take months to complete and depending on the size of your estate can become very expensive. A legal trust ensures your assets go directly to your beneficiaries quicker than waiting for the court system to release them. There are several kinds of trust accounts that can be tailored to meet your specific needs, with all trusts falling under two categories – revocable and irrevocable.

A revocable trust is sometimes referred to as a living trust and is used for a few different reasons:

  • Protection in cases of incapacitation. If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative disease that will leave you unable to make financial decisions on your own, you can have someone you trust appointed as your trustee. This trustee will be able to handle your affairs and distribute your estate based on your wishes.
  • Confidentiality. Having your assets held in a trust will keep things private after death. If your estate goes into probate, it becomes a public record and available for anyone to see.
  • Takes Legal Precedence. A revocable trust goes into effect as soon as the papers are signed, and the trust is funded. Because a trust is set up when the person is living it makes it harder to contest in court.
  • Flexibility. A living trust gives you the option of making changes like removing or adding beneficiaries, assets or trustees.

Both a revocable and irrevocable trust can be used for the purposes listed above except on the matter of flexibility. Once an irrevocable trust has been funded by moving assets to it, the trust cannot be changed. Here at WWFCU, we only offer the option to open a Revocable Trust Account due to that reason.

Big News!

WWFCU has recently partnered with Trust & Will, a leading online estate planning platform who has helped over a million families create their estate plans. They offer affordable, convenient, and customizable options for state specific legal documents. And if you happen to have questions along the way, they have experts available to get you the answers you need. As a credit union member, you are entitled to a 20% discount on an estate plan. For more information visit and under the member benefits tab you can find the link for Trust & Will.

At Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union, it is our mission to help our members reach their financial goals. We offer estate accounts, trust accounts and certified financial coaches who can help you make changes for your future and leave a legacy behind for your family. Schedule an appointment today and let us help start your path to financial success!


Your Financial Grus

Moving Towards Your Financial Success!
Member Service: (734) 721-5700

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