The traditional motivation behind creating an estate plan is to make the process of distributing property after death as easy as possible. People want to know that their estate and legacy is in good hands and that their loved ones will be protected.
However, just as millennials have taken new approaches to everything from how they work to what they value, studies show they are also defining some critical – and in some cases non-traditional – trends in their estate planning.
Three issues millennials value
A recent study revealed that millennials have a few distinct priorities in their estate plans about which other generations may not have been as vocal. The study says three areas they often see in millennial plans include:
- Appointing a guardian for a pet
- Donating their organs
- A preference for a celebration of life ceremony, as opposed to a traditional funeral
This is not to say that millennials do not value elements of estate planning like wealth preservation. Instead, it shows that many are taking a more holistic approach to planning for life after death or incapacity.
These trends suggest that young people are increasingly focused on leaving behind something more valuable than money.
Why start planning now?
One area where millennials appear to be following trends rather than setting them is the reason why they are creating an estate plan in the first place.
Every adult in the U.S. experienced disruption in their lives since the pandemic. People have lost jobs and loved ones; many have struggled with mental or physical wellness. And everyone is worried about their family.
And it is not just the painful life events that encourage some to start planning; people still have children, get married or get divorced. Thus, it makes sense that there was a significant increase in people creating an estate plan over the last year.
A plan that is uniquely yours
Estate planning documents allow you to direct everything from property distribution to how you want people to remember you. Whatever you want your legacy to look like, you can define it with your plan.
Remember that no matter what age you are, failing to put your wishes in writing can ultimately leave your loved ones lost, confused and possibly facing a complicated legal battle.