Millenials and Estate Planning

This week a lawyer friend called my attention to a recent Wall Street Journal article discussing an interesting trend in Estate Planning – increasing numbers of millennials preparing their own estate plans. This is a trend I’ve seen in my practice as more and more millennials – particularly those with or expecting young children – come to me seeking Estate Planning guidance. Many express concerns I rarely heard before from younger clients, including concerns about how decisions will be made for them and their young children in the event of incapacity or disability.

The Journal reporter explains the trend simply: Covid-19 has forced young people to consider their own mortality, and thus sparked understanding of the importance of Estate Planning. And while that may be true, I think there may be other reasons that explain the trend.

Millenials are generally financially responsible. Millenials often get a bad rap, but some data show that millennials are more responsible than previous generations in saving for retirement. Their general commitment to financial responsibility may carry over to Estate Planning.

Millenials have older parents. Those millenials who have older parents may already have faced some of the issues that tend to drive clients to prepare an Estate Plan – a family member’s illness, incapacity or death, for instance. They may have even helped a family member and thus understand the legal process already.

Millenials appreciate efficient legal advice, aided by technology. Historically Estate Planning practices have tended to be “old fashioned”. In person meetings, scheduling with assistants, documents sent by snail mail, invoice payments by check, etc. And, fearful of change, many Estate Planning attorneys had held on to those practices. But Covid-19 has initiated a modernization of the traditional Estate Planning law practice and use of technology in a way that appeals to millennials. For the ways in which I’ve modernized my practice, review my blog post.