How Millennials Are Rethinking Their Digital Legacies

3 minute read
A person with a watch typing on a laptop with a notebook beside it | Willful
In this article:

    When the pandemic suddenly halted our day-to-day routine, many were forced to think about estate plans and end-of-life planning for the first time. So much so that 58% of millennials either created or updated their will during the pandemic. 

    However, estate planning doesn’t stop there in the digital age and we need to think beyond our physical assets. In a world full of passwords and digital assets, how can we make sure that we’re including this pivotal information in our estate plans?

    We partnered with 1Password and Trust & Will to survey 1,000 Canadian millennials about their attitudes on end-of-life planning and digital handovers, and the results might surprise you. 

    Click here to download the full report →

    Rethinking Estate Planning 

    Making a will is probably not on your top to-do list. It may not even be on your list at all.

    The truth is, most millennials (72%) still don’t have a will. We found that cost, lack of time, and confusion on the process are the main barriers to making a will for millennials. But without a will, descendants of the deceased would lose access to an average of $29,297. That’s A LOT of money.

    So when Covid-19 struck, it urged millennials to create or update their will.

    Fun fact: 16% of those with wills used an online platform like Willful.

    Start your will for free today.

    Embracing Difficult Conversations

    Canadian millennials are battling a hard truth: they will be responsible for handling their parent's end-of-life wishes when the time comes. 

    This is easier said than done when in reality, millennials aren’t set up for success. Wrapping up an estate is a lot of work. We found that individuals who have been an executor for someone’s estate said that accessing accounts after death was more complicated than expected. 

    More than half of millennials don’t know or don’t have access to their parents’ passwords for their online accounts, so it’s no surprise this task is more difficult than it should be. The good news? We found that 15% of millennials initiated the digital handover discussion in the past year, as a result of the pandemic. If you’re not sure how to start this discussion, we have an easy guide to walk you through discussing end-of-life wishes with your family.  

    The Millennial Way Of Passwords

    Millennials are told to protect their passwords. But what happens when your loved ones need access to family photos in your cloud account or important financial statements? Without a solid password-sharing plan established, laying to rest our digital life will be harder than needed. So where do millennials stand when it comes to storing their passwords and documents? 

    Surprisingly, millennials prefer old-school solutions as opposed to digital solutions such as cloud, password managers, or email. The survey found that more than half of (52%) millennials say they currently store their passwords by memory, and just under half of the millennials say that no one knows their passwords in case of an emergency. For important paperwork like birth certificates, seven in 10 millennials say they keep theirs in a physical location such as a filing cabinet, safe, or safety deposit box.

    The Bottom Line

    Covid-19 has reshaped many aspects of our lives, from our daily routines to our attitudes about our finances and careers. Suddenly, Canadian millennials were faced with their own mortality,  talking about wills and planning death more than ever before. The shock of the pandemic pushed this generation to step into the role of the sandwich generation and found themselves handling their parents' financial affairs as well as their own. Most are expected to be their executors, yet they lack the necessary information to act in the critical role. 

    With the pandemic our lives are more digital – doctor appointments and in-person shopping suddenly moved online. As we continue to build up our digital life, we’re reminded to leave our successors in great hands by passing on access to the digital resources we use every day. This act of kindness will equip them to handle our after-life digital affairs and treasure memories from our legacy.

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