Estate Planning for Millennials & Gen Z: Takeaways from Trust & Will’s Estate Planning Study

Apr 14, 2024

Whether you're grappling with grief yourself or supporting someone through loss, the team at Grieve Leave understands that navigating the day-to-day realities of a death is incredibly difficult. Our mission is to provide insights that ease some of the heaviness, even if just a little.

That's why we’re sharing some of the findings from Trust & Will's 2024 Estate Planning Study. This research reveals that while estate planning is often seen as just for the wealthy, preparing a comprehensive end-of-life plan is something everyone should consider - no matter your age or assets.

The term "estate" can be misleading – you don't need a sprawling mansion to benefit from an estate plan. Let's define what an estate plan actually is: it's a set of legal documents outlining your wishes and instructions for your assets, property, and personal matters in the event of your incapacity or death. 

The Millennial Mindset Gap

While 81% of millennials believe they should have a will in place, according to the 2024 Trust and Will Estate Planning Study, 62% haven't actually done any estate planning. There seems to be a disconnect between what we think we should do and what we're actually doing.

Part of the reluctance may stem from the fact that talking about death and making end-of-life plans can feel taboo. It forces us to confront our own mortality in a very concrete way, which is just simply uncomfortable.

But avoiding these conversations can lead to unnecessary stress, guilt, and doubt for our loved ones down the line. As the study found, over a third (34%) of millennials don't even know if their parents have an estate plan in place. Having open discussions while everyone is still healthy can provide peace of mind.

More Than Just a Financial Concern

Estate planning often involves much more than just money and property distribution. The Trust and Will study highlighted several non-financial components that younger generations, in particular, are considering:

  • 39% of millennials and 56% of Gen Z want to keep their digital lives (emails, texts, DMs) private from family after death

  • Pet guardianship is a priority, with instructions for care of furry family members

  • On average, millennials allocated $37,519 to charitable donations in their estate plans

So What Does This Mean for You?

Yes, it can feel awkward talking to people you love about end-of-life plans while you’re sitting there, perfectly fine. But it’s so much better to have those talks when everyone has the sound capacity to clearly express their preferences, rather than leaving it to guesswork later amid grief.

Here are some action items for you to keep in mind:

  1. Have the conversation. As awkward as it may feel, have an open discussion with your partner, parents, or other (chosen) family about your wishes if something were to happen to you. Lay it all out on the table while you have the opportunity.

  2. Make a list of your priorities. What matters most to you? Protecting your digital data privacy? Ensuring your pets are cared for? Supporting causes that are meaningful to you? Write down all the non-financial components you'd want covered.

  3. Work with a professional. While online templates can be helpful, working with an estate attorney or service like Trust and Will ensures your documents are properly executed and legal for your state.

  4. Keep it updated. Life circumstances change. Remember that your estate plan isn't static - you'll need to update it as you have children, acquire assets, or your wishes evolve. Maybe that looks like sharing your estate plan digitally with loved ones, and taking another look at it every few years.

  5. Tell someone where they can find your estate plan. Once completed, let a trusted person know where your estate plan documents are located (keep a physical copy and a digital copy) so they can be easily accessed when needed.

The bottom line: creating an estate plan provides critical guidance and some peace of mind for your loved ones when you're not able to give them these insights, addressing all aspects of your affairs - not just money and property. The sooner you start to think about it, the better.

To explore the full findings of Trust & Will's study and their services, visit or follow them on Instagram @TrustandWill


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