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Millennial Estate Planning Surges During Pandemic: Survey

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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the volume of individuals seeking estate planning solutions, especially online, has more than doubled as the realization of the impact of the COVID-19 has come to a head, Trust & Will, an online estate planning platform, reported Thursday.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 20,000 individuals aged 25 to 40 who reported creating wills or trusts in 2020. Seventeen percent of them cited the pandemic as the reason.

“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,” Cody Barbo, founder and chief executive of Trust & Will, said in a statement. 

“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.”

Thirty-eight percent of survey participants said they created an estate plan after the birth of a child, and 13% did so as part of general life planning.

The study found that millennials care deeply about their pets and charitable causes. Three in four pet owners in the cohort appointed a guardian for their pets. 

Seven percent of survey respondents chose to leave a portion of their estate or a specific dollar amount to charity. 

These were their top bequests:

  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: 23%
  • Planned Parenthood: 8%
  • ASPCA: 6%
  • Girl Scouts of the USA: 6%
  • American Cancer Society: 4%.

One percent left money to the Black Lives Matter Foundation, suggesting that concern about the social unrest that enveloped the country in 2020 had played a part in their choice of bequests, according to Trust & Will.

The study also explored end-of-life planning. 

A quarter of millennials specified that they wanted to donate their organs. Forty-seven percent said they wanted their remains cremated, while 25% opted for traditional burial.

Thirty-five percent of millennials preferred a celebration-of-life ceremony over a traditional funeral. Many also included specific song requests for memorials, including tunes by artists such as Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan and Jack Johnson. 

— Check out Do You Know These Shocking Truths About Wills? on ThinkAdvisor.