2023 Annual Millennial Estate Planning Study

Despite a year of economic uncertainty, Millennials are still prioritizing estate planning. Discover why by reviewing our key findings.

Key findings:

78% of Millennials said that building multigenerational wealth is important to them, whereas only 45% of older generations said it wasn't important.

Over 50% of Millennials expect to receive an inheritance in their lifetime, but only 11.5% said they rely on one as part of their financial planning.

45% of Millennials said the housing crisis will impact their ability to pass on their wealth.

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.

67% of Millennials with net worths of $50,000 or less chose to leave money to charity.


Millennial estate planning habits

Learn how Millennials are prioritizing preparing for the future and building multi-generational wealth, even in the face of economic turmoil. Their tendencies differ greatly than previous generations, but they do have one thing in common: estate planning!

TL;DR? Watch our video for all the insights!

Taking care of loved ones is the strongest motivation 

In the face of economic uncertainty, Millennials have been more proactive than ever in making critical decisions about their future and legacy. Our third annual report sheds light on the estate planning habits of this generation and the factors that go into their decision making. 

As the oldest Millennials are entering their forties, many are facing economic challenges like inflation and increased housing prices. In fact, nearly 70% of the studied cohort said they were looking at their finances more closely because of recent economic turmoil. Nearly half (44%) of surveyed Millennials said that the housing crisis and rising mortgage rates prevented them from buying property in 2022, and 45% said the housing situation would impact their ability to pass on their wealth. This, on top of the fact that many are caregivers for both their minor children and aging parents, is prompting them to seriously examine their end-of-life plans. 

We analyzed data from over 20,000 people who completed their estate plans in 2022 and put together our key findings. 

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What is prompting Millennials to create their estate plans?

So what’s prompting Millennials to start estate planning? According to our data, the primary driving force was having a child followed by buying a home. 

  • Having a child (31%)

  • Buying a home (10.1%)

  • Financial advisor recommendation  (9.3%)

  • Death in the family (8.5%)

  • Change in income or net worth (7.8%)

  • Travel  (6.2%)

  • Planning for end of life (5.4%)

  • Marriage (4.7%)

But that’s not all — 78% said they believe building multigenerational wealth is essential and estate planning is one of the best ways to do that. In addition, over half of Millennials expect to receive some form of inheritance in their lifetime. This isn’t surprising, given that the largest wealth transfer in history will take place over the next two decades as a result of “The Great Wealth Transfer”,  but interestingly only 11.5% are relying on that inheritance as part of their overall financial plan.

End-of-life planning and healthcare decisions

Millennials are taking charge of their healthcare and end-of-life decisions more than ever before. In fact, 80% of them have already made their healthcare wishes known as part of their end-of-life planning. This includes completing documents such as a HIPAA Authorization Form, an Advanced Health Care Directive, and a Healthcare Power of Attorney. When it comes to critical healthcare decisions, Millennials tend to want to receive care only if it outweighs the burdens (53%). And, with Millennials leading the way in organ donation at 80.5%, it's clear that they are thinking about how their decisions can benefit others.

When deciding what to do with their remains, Millennials overwhelmingly prefer cremation (51%), followed by traditional burial (22%). However, “alternative burials” are also increasing in popularity among Millennials. Thirteen percent of Millennials opted to donate their bodies to science or “other” compared to older generations at just 6%. Millennials are more likely than other generations to let their trustee determine burial type.

Download the full study to learn more about these key insights and discover how you can take control of your future and legacy.

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Commonly asked questions

How has inflation impacted Millennial estate planning habits in 2023?
According to our study, nearly 70% of Millennials said they were looking at their finances more closely because of the recent economic turmoil. Additionally, nearly half (44%) of surveyed Millennials said that the housing crisis and rising mortgage rates had prevented them from buying property, and 45% said the housing situation would impact their ability to pass on their wealth.

Check out our guide: How inflation affects estate planning & what to do about it.
How are Millennials thinking about their digital legacies?
As the first digitally native generation, it’s no surprise that nearly three-quarters (72%) of the surveyed cohort say that at least one person has access to their passwords in case of an emergency, and 74% appointed a digital executor in their estate plans.
How common is procrastination when it comes to Millennials and estate planning?
If you’ve been putting it off, you’re in good company. More than half of those surveyed thought about getting an estate plan for 1-5 years before actually completing it. Learn how to kick estate planning procrastination.
What were the top charities donated to in 2023?
Planned Parenthood was the most popular charity, followed by St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Trevor Project, which provides crisis support for LGBTQ youth. The average gift amount was $22,257.
What are the top funeral songs for Millennials?
Aside from hymns such as “On Eagle’s Wings,” the most common song request for Millennial ceremonies is Israel K’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Many requested music by Beyoncé, The Beatles, Bob Marley, My Chemical Romance, and Wiz Khalifa was also included.