Every adult should take a personal approach to estate planning because one’s specific age, morals, wealth, family size, and special interests can all determine the type of estate plan one should have. In fact, a recent study that examined 20,000 millennials who had recently completed their estate plans found three notable priorities among the group:
- Organ donation – More than 25% of the millennials polled noted that they documented their wish to donate their organs in their estate plans. This number likely does not include every registered organ donor (over half of U.S. adults are registered), but it is helpful to reference this preference in one’s estate plan.
- Pet custody – Whether millennials have children or not, they are making plans for their pets. Roughly 78% of pet owners included directions for pet guardians in their planning documents. Further, many millennials choose to leave charitable gifts to animal organizations, with the ASPCA being one of the most commonly-identified beneficiaries.
- End-of-life preferences – The study also found that an overwhelming majority of millennials prefer cremation to burial, and about 35% specifically cite a preference for an end-of-life celebration, rather than a traditional funeral. Some people even specified the songs they want to be played.
These components of an estate plan suggest that millennials have a vested interest in:
- Leaving an altruistic legacy
- Providing care for loved ones
- Focusing on the positive elements of life and love
These motivations can significantly impact what a person wants to happen when they are gone. Often, other parties – including the courts – are not driven by these same motivations when settling a person’s affairs. Thus, specifying these types of wishes in one’s estate plan can be crucial.
Planning ahead: A trend worth following
Finally, the study also found that millennials are driving the increase in adults completing estate plans. Events like the pandemic and having a child are among the most commonly cited reasons for creating an estate plan now, rather than waiting until later in life.
Considering the fact that just 40% of adults have an estate plan, this increase among millennials is undoubtedly a trend that’s headed in the right direction.