In October 2004, researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss defined and named the group of those born between 1982 and 2004 -- Millennials.
Millennials are a truly unique demographic who think and act differently than members of other generations.
Like the Baby Boomers and Generations X and Y before them, Millennials have different priorities. In general, Millennials are more concerned with enjoying the present than planning for the future.
This attitude poses a problem with respect to estate planning. While it is important to enjoy life from day to day, making plans and securing your future is equally, if not more, important.
Here are some of the priorities that Millennials have and how they relate to estate planning:
For those Millennials who can afford to do so, traveling is a top priority. Many Millennials opt for active vacations, as opposed to the slow and lazy vacations often opted for by Baby Boomers. These vacations can be very risky at times, making it all the more important to have a plan in place before heading out. Even a simple will is preferable to no plan at all.
While pets have always been popular, Millennials have a special love for their pets, which includes taking selfies and posting plenty of Instagram photos with their pets. Close connections to pets raise the question: “Who will take care of our pets if we were in an accident on our adventurous vacation?” It is important to note here that the law views pets as property. As such, they should be provided for in a will so that they will be taken care of if the unexpected happens.
Let’s face it: Millennials dominate the Internet world, especially on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These accounts often have strong sentimental value for Millennials, as they contain memories for them in the form of pictures, comments, and more. Having a trust or a will with specific provisions for access to, and management of, digital assets allows these assets to be taken over by people you trust after your incapacity or passing.
Living While We Are Young
Given their youth, it is hard for Millennials to wrap their minds around disability and dying. However, some Millennials may experience mental disability at some point in their lives and certainly we all will die. The sooner you start planning the better. You can still live while you are young and enjoy your life, but you can do so with peace of mind knowing that your future is also secure. Best of all, your family is spared the time, expense, and publicity of a conservatorship if you become mentally incapacitated or a probate when you die.
My Assistant Monica
My assistant, Monica, a college senior, is herself a Millennial. Monica is the only person whom she knows who has an estate plan, courtesy of her employment at Hatley Law Group.
The idea of estate planning scares many of Monica’s friends, who think they are “not adult enough yet” to undertake measures like estate planning. However, Monica is thankful that she has a plan in place because she knows that if anything unexpected were to happen to her, all of her wishes would be respected.
Monica encourages her fellow Millennials to start thinking about putting their plans in place as soon as possible—your families and pets will benefit later from the planning you put in place today!