Employees working together after their company implemented employee equity and engagement policies.

5 minute read

Estate Planning for Employee Engagement & Equity

Thinking of adding a new tool to your employee benefits package? Consider estate planning! It’s a benefit employees will actually take advantage of.

Patrick Hicks

Patrick Hicks, @PatrickHicks

Head of Legal, Trust & Will

Are you interested in adding a new tool or service to your employee benefits package? Estate planning is a great option for several reasons. First, it is a benefit that a majority of your employees will take advantage of, making it worth your investment. Second, it creates endless more opportunities to engage with your employees. Last but not least, providing access to estate planning services to all employees is an act that promotes equity and inclusion. Trust & Will explains why.

Estate planning: a benefit that the majority of employees will use

Let’s face it: employee benefits are costly, making each benefit an important investment decision. Some benefits are no-brainers, such as healthcare and retirement savings programs. However, companies can’t afford to provide just the basics anymore. The job market is extremely competitive, meaning that companies must boast stellar benefits packages to help attract and keep the top talent in their workforce. This means that many companies are expanding their benefits offerings but must be selective due to their costs.

A smart business decision is to offer a benefit that employees will actually take advantage of. Other than basic benefits, as well as compulsory benefits, other benefits are optional. If employees don’t take advantage of a benefit, then the company is essentially wasting their money.

HR.com’s recent study “The State of Estate Planning” found that only 13 percent of employees currently have access to estate planning as a part of their benefits package. Out of the 87 percent of Americans who do not receive estate planning benefits, 72 percent would be interested in taking advantage of the services. 

When it comes to estate planning, management can have peace of mind knowing that they are making a sound investment.

Build employee engagement with an estate planning benefit

Adding an estate plan as a part of your benefits package creates new opportunities to engage with your employees.

For instance, employers often engage with an employee, in one way or another, when they hit important milestones. Adding an estate planning benefit can increase those instances. This is because important career and life events can serve as reminders to either initiate or make updates to their company-sponsored Estate Plan. 

Second, they can also serve as trigger events for the employer to educate the employee on the importance of estate planning and remind them of how easy it is to take advantage of their free or discounted benefit. 

Here are some examples of these events:

  • Salary increase or performance bonus 

  • Promotion

  • Open enrollment period for health insurance

  • Marriage, Separation, Divorce

  • Birth or Adoption of a Child

  • Adoption of a Pet

  • Bereavement

Estate planning for diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)

Estate planning has been, and always will be, a social justice issue. Throughout the history of our nation, marginalized communities have been subjected to historic, systemic, and legal barriers. Barriers to owning property, building wealth, handing down wealth, and planning estates, to name a few.

For many individuals, estate planning is still inaccessible, whether it be due to real or perceived barriers.

The majority of Americans wish to build multigenerational wealth (wealth that can be handed down to the next generation), yet only about half of us have an Estate Plan. There are perceived barriers, such as “estate planning is just for rich people,” or “estate planning is something I can’t afford.” 

There are also real barriers. The most common barrier amongst many Americans is experiencing estate planning as something that is too difficult to start, as well as to keep up-to-date. Marginalized communities face additional barriers of generational wealth and knowledge gaps. This is in comparison to affluent families who pass down both wealth and financial education to their younger generations. Over generations, this difference in access and equity has contributed to the wealth gap that exists today. 

Here, companies have a monumental opportunity to help remove barriers, increase access, and promote equity. By offering estate planning services to employees as a part of their benefits package, employees are more likely to set up their Estate Plan. Referenced earlier, studies are finding that the vast majority of workers actually would take advantage of an estate planning benefit if it were offered to them. 

Here is how a company can help improve inclusivity by removing or lowering barriers:

  • Provide training and education to debunk the myth that estate planning only benefits wealthy individuals. To the contrary, less affluent individuals stand to lose more without an Estate Plan.

  • Training and education can include topics such as how to invest money, grow wealth, create long-term financial security, and plant the seed of generational wealth.

  • Partnering with an online estate planning platform with excellent support services will remove many of the logistical barriers. Thanks to technology, setting up an Estate Plan has become much easier and more streamlined. Personalized support is made available every step of the way, thus increasing the share of workers who are able to complete and update their estate plans.

  •  An employee-sponsored Estate Plan removes the financial barrier and makes the process accessible.

  • Employer encouragement could be just the motivation the employee needed.

How to offer estate planning as a benefit

Offering estate planning as a part of your corporate benefits package is a no-brainer. 

Studies have revealed that the majority of workers would take advantage of an estate planning benefit if it were offered to them, making the investment decision a sound one. Only 13 percent of companies offer estate planning benefits today. In this extremely competitive job market, offering estate planning benefits is a low-hanging fruit when it comes to standing out in your top industry. Further, adding this benefit makes a statement. It essentially says, “we care about our employees’ long-term financial health and security.”

Employees of any background and income level will find this an attractive value proposition. As discussed in this guide, it offers a wonderful opportunity to promote inclusivity and engage with employees on a regular basis. 

Ready for next steps? Trust & Will is a full-service estate planning platform that will allow employees to create their Wills and/or Trusts online. It is an affordable solution that removes existing barriers and provides support every step of the way. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement  options today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Browse more topics in our learn center or chat with a live member support representative! 

Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.