|Can contributions to a 529 plan be directly debited from my checking account?|
It depends on the plan. In general, many plans will allow you to set up an automatic debit arrangement to make contributions to your 529 account. But the only way to know for sure is to ask your plan administrators.
If your plan offers this feature, it's generally very easy to set up--you simply complete the required paperwork with your 529 plan. You'll typically have to provide your bank account information and indicate the desired amount and frequency of your contributions (e.g., $100 a month). Then you can sit back, because the money will be automatically deducted from your bank account and invested in your 529 account--you won't have to worry about sending in a check every time you want to make a contribution. That makes these arrangements a convenient and reliable way to save for your child's education, especially if you don't consider yourself a disciplined saver.
If you set yourself up for automatic bank account debits, be aware that the contribution limits and minimums that your 529 plan imposes will still apply (though some plans may waive the minimum deposit needed to open an account if you sign up for automatic debits). And be sure to find out if you'll be subject to any special charges (or discounts, for that matter) if you opt for automatic debits.