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Trust & Will’s Annual Millennial Study Examines Impact of Economic Uncertainty on Estate Planning

Trust & Will offers insight into the estate planning habits of Millennials, demonstrating the importance of taking proactive steps to secure their financial futures.

Cody Barbo

Cody Barbo, @codybarbo

Founder & CEO, Trust & Will

Housing Crisis and Inflation Impacts Millennials Ability to Build Multi-Generational Wealth

SAN DIEGO, CA - April 4, 2023 - Trust & Will, the leading digital estate planning platform in the U.S., releases the findings of its third annual millennial estate planning study, providing insight from more than 20,000 millennials on end-of-life planning preferences. Amidst rising mortgage rates and inflation, millennials are concerned about their ability to build and pass on wealth to future generations. 

Key findings from the 2023 Annual Study, "Millennials and Estate Planning During a Time of Economic Uncertainty," include:

  • 45% of millennials said the housing crisis would impact their ability to pass on their wealth

  • 78% percent of millennials said that building multigenerational wealth is essential to them

  • 74% of Millennials appointed a digital executor in their estate plans to handle their online affairs and social media accounts  

  • Millennials are 29% more likely than older cohorts to want their emails, direct messages, and texts kept private from their family

  • 71% of the pet owners in our cohort assigned a guardian for their animal in their estate plan.

  • Planned Parenthood was the most popular charity for bequests, followed by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Trevor Project

The recent economic turmoil has had a significant impact on millennials’ ability to build and transfer wealth. Nearly half (44%) of those surveyed said that the housing crisis and rising mortgage rates had prevented them from buying property, and 45% said it would impact their ability to pass on their wealth.

The majority of millennials consider multi-generational wealth building as important (78%), whereas less than half of older generations (45%) consider it important. Meanwhile, 56% of millennials expect to receive an inheritance in their lifetime, but very few (11.5%) said they rely on an inheritance as part of their financial planning.

“The past year has been tumultuous for many, and we’re seeing the effects on millennial mindsets when it comes to estate planning,” said Cody Barbo, Founder, and CEO of Trust & Will. "However, we also are seeing a shift in this generation’s ability to overcome financial obstacles and stay true to the things that mean the most to them, like giving to charity or reducing carbon through eco-friendly burials. Even in times of great uncertainty and fear, millennials are taking control of their financial futures by creating estate plans at a higher rate than any other generation.”

A growing number of millennials are opting for ‘alternative burials’, which can include human composting, and tree pods. Cremation remains the most popular choice (51%), followed by traditional burial (22%) but a rising number of millennials prefer to donate their body to science (13%). This aligns closely with the majority of millennials opting to be organ donors (81%). 

Millennials are more likely to donate to charity, even if their net worth is relatively low. In fact, there is a direct correlation between the two, with 67% of millennials with net worths of $50,000 or less opting to donate, compared to 25% of millennials with higher net worths of $50,000-$125,000. The average bequest is $22,257. 

Consistent with previous years, the primary motivator to create an estate plan is having a child (31%), followed by buying a home (10%), instructed by a financial advisor (9%), or a death in the family (8%). 

For the full findings and to download a copy of the report, visit: https://trustandwill.com/resources/2023-millennial-estate-planning-study


Trust & Will analyzed proprietary data from 23,979 individuals, 7,832 of whom were aged 25-44, to explore specific insights and behaviors of the millennial generation regarding estate planning. Trust & Will revisits this data each year to see how trends and behaviors among millennials continue to change over time.


Trust & Will is simplifying estate planning and settlement with attorney-approved, legally valid documents and processes designed to adhere to individual state guidelines. Since 2017, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of Trust & Will members leave their legacy with an affordable way to create an estate plan or settle the estate of a loved one. Our platform uses bank-level encryption that protects customer data and complies with the highest security standards, including SOC 2 and HIPAA. Trust & Will is the official estate planning benefit provider for AARP members, along with several leading financial institutions, who all believe in our mission of helping every family leave their legacy. To learn more, visit trustandwill.com.