Does your pet have a godparent?

August 24th, 2022 post featured image

Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about generational differences and similarities. There’s value in being able to pinpoint your own rationale and compare it to those of your juniors and seniors. More information almost always results in greater understanding and often, tolerance for differing opinions and approaches.

This time around, we’re tackling some of the differences that distinguish millennials’ approach to estate planning, from other generations. They’re subtle, but interesting. As always, our belief is good planning accommodates difference, whether it be generational, gendered, or what have you. It doesn’t try to shoehorn everyone into a one-size fits all solution. Especially when it comes to estate planning.

Think about what you want in life and what you’d like to leave behind afterwards. We may all share common experiences or visualize something similar, but a good estate plan is highly subjective. Even people who plan to leave a modest legacy have the power to impact a fair number of people, especially the most immediate ones they care about. This is why it’s so important to get it right and to routinely modify our plans so they reflect our most current needs, desires and relationships.

We’ve talked before about how many millennials are waiting longer to do a number of the things their predecessors did quite young: getting married, having kids, buying property, etc. Because of this, their approach to estate planning is inherently different. Here are three ways millennials differ from older generations.  

1. Digital assets

In 2022, millennials range roughly in age from 22 to 40. While that is an enormous spread in some ways, what they share is having had relatively easy access to technology for most of their life, especially during their formative years. Exposure to technology from a young age directly translates into tech savviness which means millennials are currently the oldest generation (followed by Gen Z and Gen Alpha) who are considered “native” to the internet.

Naturally, it follows that millennials spend a great deal more energy managing and making provisions for their digital assets than older generations. A digital asset is defined by Gartner as any uniquely identifiable thing stored digitally that organizations can use to realize value. This includes documents, audio, videos, logos, slide presentations, spreadsheets and websites.

Ensuring people can access and manage these digital assets means creating and regularly updating things like password lists and cryptocurrency log-in protocols. As a quick aside, incorporating cryptocurrency into an estate plan can be quite a feat but is certainly worth it. Without proper planning, it’s possible your beneficiary could lose access to these assets entirely. For more information about leaving behind NFTs and crypto, click here.

2. Multiple, not-so-obvious beneficiaries

Where previous generations are more accustomed to naming a spouse or child(ren) as their beneficiaries for most if not all their assets, millennials are switching things up. As a result of waiting (or deciding not) to conquer a number of different milestones, many millennials are in the interesting situation of being fully established before meeting a partner and combining assets. Whether it’s family or friends, millennials are content to leave certain assets to meaningful people who predate their common-law partner or spouse.

3. Untraditional dependents

We’ve known for years about millennials decision to delay or forgo having children but despite this, dependents are still making it into their estate plans. While about 44% of American millennials surveyed said it was unlikely they would have kids one day, another survey  shockingly found that 44% of American millennials are pet owners – a higher percentage than any other generation.

We’ve previously written about adding pets to an estate plan in the same way children or other dependents are, but it seems millennials are taking it to heart. Things to consider are who you want to care for your pet and whether you’d like to leave them a monetary ‘thank you’ as compensation for taking on that responsibility.

Millennials are making sure the right people are being given the responsibility of managing the real and the digital if the unexpected were to happen. Check out the following blogs If you’re interested in reading more about how millennials differ or resemble predecessor generations in their approaches when it comes to saving money or exit planning. If you or a millennial you know are looking to craft or modify your estate plan, contact us.