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Pandemic Ignites Millennials to Focus on End-of-Life Planning

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As the coronavirus pandemic increased anxiety and upended many lives, it led U.S. millennials to get more serious about end-of-life planning.

According to new research from 1Password, a digital security and privacy platform based in Toronto, and digital estate planning platform partners Trust & Will and Willful, 72% of U.S. millennials (ages 25 to 40) with wills created them or updated them in the past year.

In addition, 34% of these millennials have talked about their digital assets with their parents in the past year.

More than two-thirds of millennials don’t have a will

While the pandemic brought greater focus to end-of-life planning among millennials, they’re still largely unprepared. According to the 1Password findings, 68% of millennials don’t have a will.

In turn, respondents estimate descendants would lose access to an average of $22,500. Plus, only 38% have clarity over who should handle their digital assets after they die.

Among those who do have a will, here’s what sparked it:

  • COVID-19 crisis (55%)
  • Having a child (36%)
  • Death of a celebrity or public figure (22%)
  • Buying a house (17%)

With a digital handover, the top priority for respondents is giving their executor login credentials to banking and financial accounts (67%). Interestingly, 57% of millennial respondents say granting access to social media accounts is more important than giving access to email, subscription and e-commerce accounts.

The pandemic provided a wake-up call for millennials and their end-of-life planning, no doubt. But there are some areas of estate planning that are murky. And it’s not just about the respondents themselves.

The survey finds 51% of millennials will be responsible for the execution of their parents’ wills. However, just 36% have access to their parents’ online account passwords.

While we already noted that 34% of respondents say they’ve chatted with their parents about their digital assets in the past year, 52% have never discussed it with their parents or can’t recall the conversation. Among those who have handled the execution of wills, 63% say it was more challenging than expected to access accounts after a death.

Millennials use old-fashioned ways to store documents

Old-school ways of handling important documents reign supreme among the millennial crowd. More than 4 in 5 (81%) report keeping paperwork — think birth certificate — in a physical location like a safe deposit box, safe or filing cabinet.

They share their passwords mainly by way of a written list (41%), then verbally (39%) and digitally (25%), such as through email, Google Docs, the cloud or a PDF.

As for storing passwords, 51% say they store their passwords by memory, while 25% keep them on a piece of paper. One in 5 (20%) millennials say they use a password manager.

The report also found that 48% of millennials trust their significant others the most for emergency access to their passwords, more than twice as much as their second choice — their parents (20%).

If you’re prioritizing end-of-life planning, decide who will be granted access to your digital accounts and online passwords and list out all your debts. This might include:

If you need help managing credit card debt, consider working with a financial counselor or credit counseling agency.

Methodology: 1Password, Trust & Will and Willful commissioned 72Point to survey 1,000 U.S. millennials ages 25 to 40, fielded Sept. 16-17, 2021.

 

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