Through The Generations

First Study On Millennial Estate Planning Finds Surge In Wills Due To The Pandemic

Trending: Appoint a pet guardian, donate organs, and have a celebration of life ceremony

Trust & Will publishes ‘Millennials and Estate Planning in an Unprecedented Year’.

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Trust & Will, the leading online estate planning platform, today released the findings of “Millennials and Estate Planning in an Unprecedented Year,” the first study that examines millennials’ preferences for estate planning. According to the study, which evaluated the preferences of 20,000 millennials who completed estate planning documents, more than half (78%) set up a will in 2020, with nearly a quarter (17%) of them citing “2020/The Pandemic” as the primary reason for creating an estate plan.

While most millennials created an estate plan after the birth of a child (38%), this cohort also cares deeply about their pets and charitable causes. Nearly all (78%) of millennial pet owners appointed a guardian for their pets. Millennials who selected to bequest a gift to charity most frequently chose St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Planned Parenthood, and the ASPCA as beneficiaries.

Nearly a quarter of millennials cited “2020/The Pandemic” as the primary reason for creating an estate plan.

End Of Life Planning

The study also explored end-of-life planning. A quarter (26%) of millennials specified wanting to donate their organs. The most common final resting place choice was cremation (47%), followed by a traditional burial (25%). Almost half of millennials (35%) prefer a celebration of life ceremony over a traditional funeral. Millennials also included specific song requests for memorials, including various artists like Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, and Jack Johnson.

“We saw a huge increase in the number of Millennials completing wills last year, which is a positive trend considering that more than 60% of adult Americans do not have a will in place,” says Cody Barbo, Founder and CEO of Trust & Will. “We decided to study the Millennial audience specifically to see how the unrest we experienced in 2020 acted as a trigger for younger audiences to consider their end-of-life and estate planning.”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of individuals seeking estate planning solutions, especially online, has more than doubled as the realization of the impact of the virus has come to a head.

Excerpts From Millennials and Estate Planning in an Unprecedented Year

Key Findings:

  • 17% of millennials stated that “2020/The Pandemic” was the reason they decided to create their Estate Plans
  • 46% of millennials took less than a year to complete their Estate plans from the first time they thought about doing so
  • 78% of millennials appointed a Pet Guardian for their pets
  • 26% of millennials specified wanting to donate their organs

An Unprecedented Year

With 2020 being one of the most unprecedented years in history — a global pandemic, a presidential election, and a battle for social justice — both Americans and American businesses have been impacted in a number of ways. Trust & Will examined the estate planning industry to discover whether or not Covid-19 and today’s political climate has affected consumer behavior, specifically that of millennials.

Has Covid-19 caused millennials to prioritize creating their Wills or Trusts at a higher rate due to the uncertainty surrounding their health? Have millennials chosen to leave gifts to charities they care about due to the social change taking place? Does a millennial’s political affiliation have an impact on their estate planning choices? How are millennials planning for their end-of-life? Based on research conducted in 2020 by Caring.com, we know that over 60% of Americans do not have a Will in place. But are current events reducing that number and impacting other areas of the estate planning industry?

We saw a huge increase in the number of Millennials completing wills last year, which is a positive trend considering that more than 60% of adult Americans do not have a will in place...

To answer these questions and uncover the “why” behind millennial behavior and decisions relating to Estate Plan preparation, Trust & Will analyzed data from nearly 20,000 individuals aged 25 to 40 who reported creating their Wills or Trusts in 2020.

Where Do They Live?

The cohort of millennials surveyed for this study included individuals from all 50 states. The purpose of this was to uncover whether or not a person’s location had any impact on their preferred Estate Plan. According to the data, Wills were the predominantly chosen Estate Plan among millennials regardless of state. California had the largest number of Trust completions — 27% of total Trusts, followed by Texas, which made up 7% of total Trust-Based Estate Plans. Additionally, Idaho, West Virginia, and Mississippi were the states with the highest percent of Guardianship Appointment documents completed.

The data also uncovered that a state’s typical political affiliation had some effect on document completions. Millennials in states that tend to elect Democrats at the statewide level (blue states) completed 6% more Estate Plans than
millennials in states that tend to elect Republicans at the statewide level (red states). Secondly, millennials in Blue states completed 28% more Trusts than millennials in Red states (64% vs 36%). Lastly, millennials in Blue states completed only 2% more Wills than millennials in Red states (51% vs 49%) .

The above statistics suggest that a person’s location may play a role in his or her choice of Estate Plan, particularly if they prefer a Trust-Based Estate Plan.

To view the full study view here.

 

 

 

Methodology:
Trust & Will analyzed data from 17,925 individuals aged 25-to-40 in a proprietary study, exploring specific insights and behaviors of the millennial generation around estate planning. To view the full study, visit www.trustandwill.com/learn/estate-planning-study. To listen to the top requested memorial songs, visit the Trust & Will Spotify playlist. Visual graphics representing top findings from “Millennials and Estate Planning in an Unprecedented Year” can be found here.
About Trust & Will
Since 2017, Trust & Will has helped more than 180,000 members successfully plan their legacy. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Trust & Will is on a mission to provide families a better way to plan for the future. We make estate planning simple, affordable, and accessible for everyone by providing a secure way to set up your plan online in minutes. We’ve modernized estate planning with a design-first approach, layered on top of incredible customer support to help people throughout the process. In response to COVID-19, Trust & Will launched the Frontline Heroes Initiative, which has provided more than 11,000 free estate plans to healthcare professionals and teachers. To learn more, please visit trustandwill.com.

 

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