From doomscrolling to end-of-life discussions, new report from Willful and 1Password reveals millennials’ attitudes towards estate planning and digital legacy.
All Canadians should outline clear end-of-life plans, and as millennials go through major life events, there’s really no excuse to not have a will. I’m happy to see millennials are taking action on their estate plans, if not for themselves, then for their loved ones.
Today, Willful, Canada’s leading online will platform, and 1Password, a leader in human-centric security and privacy, released a new report that reveals how the pandemic influenced Canadian millennials (25-40) to reexamine their lives, including their end-of-life planning and digital legacy. Willful and 1Password commissioned OnePoll to survey Canadian millennials and found more than half of millennials (58 per cent) have either created or updated their will during the pandemic, and over half (54 per cent) said their friends and family wouldn’t know how to access their digital accounts if they passed away.
“Estate planning can be overwhelming and is often perceived as a task for the very distant future, but the pandemic has taught us to be prepared for the unexpected,” says Erin Bury, CEO of Willful. “All Canadians should outline clear end-of-life plans, and as millennials go through major life events, there’s really no excuse to not have a will. I’m happy to see millennials are taking action on their estate plans, if not for themselves, then for their loved ones.”
The report features data gathered from over 1,000 survey respondents across Canada in September 2021, and focuses on millennials as caregivers, millennials’ attitudes towards sharing their digital footprint with loved ones, and millennials’ approach to estate planning.
The COVID-19 Catalyst for Estate Planning
One in five (21 per cent) millennials consider themselves too young for wills and estate planning, but the pandemic created a sense of urgency for this group to face their future and reexamine their lives, including their end-of-life wishes:
- Of those with wills, more than half of millennials (58 per cent) either created or updated their will because of the pandemic.
- Millennials cited COVID-19 (56 per cent), having a child (29 per cent), and buying a home (25 per cent) as the top three reasons they created a will.
- Four out of 10 millennials (41 per cent) don’t know what they would want to happen to their social media accounts when they die.
- Seventy-two per cent of millennials don’t have a will, and 13 per cent said they would be more likely to create a will if they could complete it fully online - this is timely as on December 1 British Columbia is scheduled to become the first province to allow fully digital wills.
Increased End-of-Life Discussions during COVID-19
The pandemic has put a spotlight on difficult topics that many people previously shied away from, from navigating end-of-life planning with parents, to discussing personal wishes, to considering digital legacies:
- Almost a third of millennials (29 per cent) don’t know if their parents have a will, despite the fact that 49 per cent said they would be responsible for wrapping up their parents’ estates.
- More than two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents have never talked to their parents about how they would access their digital accounts if they passed away, but COVID-19 triggered 15 per cent of millennials to have the digital handover discussion in the past year.
- Over half of millennials (56 per cent) don’t know their parents’ online account passwords.
Millennial State of the Password
In today’s digital world, individuals have dozens, if not hundreds, of passwords that unlock access to critical information including finances, online accounts and subscriptions, social media platforms, and more. Executing someone’s will is especially difficult when a digital legacy plan requiring password management isn’t set in place:
- Half of millennials (48 per cent) said no one knows their passwords in case of an emergency, with more than half (52 per cent) reporting they rely on memory to store their passwords.
- Of those who have shared their passwords with loved ones, over three quarters of millennials (76 per cent) have shared their passwords verbally or on a piece of paper.
- Six out of 10 millennials (61 per cent) have not appointed a legacy contact on their social media accounts in case they pass away.
“The pandemic has encouraged many of us to think more deeply about our mortality, but there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure a smooth handover of our estate--especially for newer digital platforms where we spend more and more of our time,” said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password. “Millennials especially are facing the brunt of these shifting pressures, as they’re balancing responsibilities for their own growing families while also caring for aging parents. Transition plans have long been a taboo topic, but it’s time to destigmatize these discussions and ensure our digital lives are in order so the responsibility doesn’t fall on others.”
As a result of the pandemic and Canadians’ increased digital presence, millennials are considering their future, some for the first time, and require digital-friendly strategies to plan accordingly. Digital estate planning tools like Willful, alongside trusted password managers like 1Password, are dedicated to making the will creation and estate planning process more accessible, easy, and affordable.
To view the full report, click here.
For more information:
Willful is on a mission to change the way Canadians prepare for and deal with death. Their first product is an online platform that makes it affordable, convenient, and easy for Canadians to create a legal will online. The platform provides simplified estate planning services, enabling consumers to create a will and/or power of attorney by following a clear step-by-step process. Willful’s platform was developed in collaboration with leading estate lawyers, and has pricing plans starting at $99. Willful is based in Toronto, and it is currently available to residents of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba.
1Password provides human-centered security for everyone, everywhere. The company’s password management and credentials security platform is trusted by more than 100,000 business customers including IBM, Slack, Shopify, Under Armour, and many more. 1Password also protects the most sensitive information of millions of individuals and families across the globe and is committed to helping consumers and businesses get more done in less time and with security and privacy as a given. Learn more at 1Password.com.