The largest living generation has become caregivers for their children and parentsDigital estate planning firm Trust & Will has released findings from its second annual Millennial estate planning study.
San Diego, CA | Trust & Will, the leading digital estate planning platform in the U.S., today released the findings of its second annual millennial estate planning study, providing insight from more than 20,000 millennials on end-of-life planning preferences. As the U.S. enters into another year of living in a pandemic, estate planning continues to see an uptick as Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generation caring for young children and their aging parents, entering into what is known as the ‘Sandwich Generation.’
“Millennials are building their own families while also caring for their aging parents amid a global health crisis, prompting more caregivers to plan for the future,” said Cody Barbo, Founder and CEO of Trust & Will. “Even though millennials are taking the lead on writing wills and establishing trusts to set up their families’ financial health, the majority of American adults still do not have any plan in place. We hope that by making digital estate planning as accessible as possible, more families will create a plan for their unique needs and situations.”
Key findings from this year’s report, “Millennial Estate Planning Continues in a Pandemic” include:
- 34% report that having a child prompted them to create an estate plan
- 22% are part of the Sandwich Generation, caring for both their children and their parents
- 77% of pet owners designated a specific pet guardian within their plan
- 57% only want to receive end-of-life care if benefits outweigh the burdens
- 81% elected to donate their organs
Births, Deaths Trigger Planning Decisions
According to the study, most millennials (75%) chose to complete a will-based estate plan, enabling them to appoint guardians for minor children, along with pets, and make decisions about healthcare wishes and final arrangements. Only 19% opted for a trust, which helps those with more complex estates manage and distribute assets during their lifetime and after death.
The study explored the top reasons millennials create estate plans. Consistent with last year’s results, the birth of a child continues to be the leading reason, followed by the death of a family member (11%) and buying a home (9%).
The pandemic and work-from-home policies spurred many families across the nation to add a pet to their families. More than half of the millennials in the cohort have a pet, with three-fourths of pet owners designating someone to act as a pet guardian.
Bucking Tradition For Modern Legacies
The data shows that it’s clear that millennials are flouting certain traditional family norms. The study indicated that Millennials are steering away from tradition to create modern, personalized legacies. On average, millennials now list seven people in their estate plans. Their closest circle might not necessarily include blood relatives. Nearly one in four of those surveyed said they chose a non-family member as a guardian for their kids or pets or to act as an executor, trustee, or beneficiary.
The study also revealed trends in end-of-life planning. Nearly 40% of the cohorts completed their health documents, including a HIPAA Authorization form, and the majority (57%) elected to receive care only if benefits outweigh the burdens.
In terms of end-of-life preferences, nearly half of the cohort (48%) chose to have their body cremated, with only one in four choosing a conventional burial. Eight percent wanted their body to be donated to science. These numbers suggest that millennials are moving away from traditional end-of-life arrangements.
The millennial generation is passionate about causes that matter to them and donating to non-profit organizations. Like last year, the top charities for bequests included St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Planned Parenthood, and Girl Scouts. This year, there was an increase in planned gifts to The Trevor Project, which provides crisis support for LGBTQ+ teens.
Trust & Will analyzed data from 22,850 individuals aged 25 to 44 in a proprietary study to explore specific insights and behaviors of the millennial generation when it comes to estate planning. Additionally, Trust & Will surveyed 323 individuals aged 25 to 44 to ask them about the process of creating their Estate Plans. Trust & Will plans to revisit this data each year to see how trends and behaviors among millennials continue to change over time.
About Trust & Will
Trust & Will is a modern approach to digital estate planning, offering legally valid documents designed and approved by estate planning attorneys to adhere to individual state guidelines. Since 2017, more than 300,000 Trust & Will members have created an online estate plan to set up their family legacy. We make estate planning simple, affordable, and accessible by providing a secure way to set up a plan online in minutes, using bank-level encryption that protects customer data and complies with the highest security standards, including SOC2. Trust & Will is the official estate planning benefit provider for AARP members and is a proud partner of several leading financial institutions, including Northwestern Mutual and Haven Life. To learn more, visit www.trustandwill.com.