what is a will

What is a Will?

A will is the cornerstone of your estate plan.

A will may be one of the most important documents you’ll ever possess. It’s the cornerstone of your estate plan, and the document that will determine who will be in charge of your assets after you pass away.

Your Executor

The person you name as the executor (also referred to as the personal representative) is tasked with carrying out the terms of your will. The will acts as a written guide for this person regarding the who, what, when, and how. This includes:

  • Who will get your assets
  • What they will receive, specifically – e.g. cash, investments, real estate, etc.
  • When and how they will be able to use the inherited assets

It's a common misconception that the terms of your will override beneficiary designations or ownership of an account. For example, if you have a beneficiary listed on your savings or retirement accounts, that money will go to the beneficiary – regardless of what you stipulated in your will. Periodically review your choice you've designated on these accounts, as circumstances can always change over time.

The same applies for a joint owner or co-signer on these accounts. Oftentimes, parents will add an adult son or daughter on their bank accounts for the purpose of convenience, and not realize that person may now be a joint owner and could become the legal owner of those funds in the event of their death.

Need help finding an attorney to get started? Want to know more about managing an estate? BECU Trust Services is here when you need us. Call 206-812-5176 or email becutrust@becu.org.

BECU Trust Services is a trade name used by Members® Trust Company under license from BECU. Trust services are provided by Members® Trust Company, a federal thrift regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or tax advice regarding your situation. For legal or tax advice, please consult your attorney and/or accountant. Trust products not federally insured, not subject to credit union or affiliate guarantee, and may lose value.