Pandemic Prompts Young Americans to Write Their Wills

A study on Millennial estate planning finds a surge in wills due to the pandemic.

Trust & Will, an online estate planning platform, has 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.

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, the company said.

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