It’s no secret Millennials are a little different. Most don’t prioritize the same traditional values as their parents and grandparents. The stereotypical Millennial is tech savvy, entrepreneurial, and socially conscious. On the downside, many people associate Millennials with job hopping, instant gratification, and sometimes poor work ethic.
The reality isn’t so clear cut. While these twenty- and thirty-somethings value work-life balance and collaboration, many are also saddled with student-loan debt and are slower to marry, have children and buy homes than previous generations. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, only 27% of Millennials were married, compared to 36% of Gen Xers and 48% of Baby Boomers when they were the same age.
Since Millennials settle down later than previous generations, it also means they’re waiting longer to consider estate planning. But this generation is growing up fast, and the time to create a will or trust is coming for a large part of this generation. Millennials can be a valuable market to tap into for estate planning attorneys: the demographic now represents more than a quarter of the U.S. population. Fortunately, it seems that this generation understands the value of attorneys in the estate planning process: 73% of Millennials think an attorney is an essential element in creating an estate plan.
The key to capturing the Millennial market is speaking their language and conveying the value of an estate plan.
Why Millennials should care about estate planning
It’s easy to pigeon hole Millennials by assuming they’re too busy maintaining their social media accounts or planning the next vacation they can’t afford to think about estate planning. But young people can benefit greatly from an estate plan.
It’s especially true today because baby boomers — the country’s wealthiest generation — are expected to transfer $30 trillion to Gen Xers and Millennials over the coming decades, according to CNBC. That means millions of young people will, expectedly or unexpectedly, come into significant wealth. As an estate planning attorney, you need to be ready to capture this demographic because if you don’t, your competition will.
Explain why estate planning is beneficial and why even the young and healthy need to plan for their future. Estate planning will help Millennials facilitate the preservation of wealth and asset management, and also provide peace of mind. A comprehensive estate plan allows your clients to:
- Control property while they are alive
- Provide for themselves and loved ones if they become incapacitated
- Give what they have to whomever they want, the way they want, and when they want
- Minimize the impact of fees and taxes
Don’t rule anyone out
Even if a potential client doesn’t stand to inherit great wealth, there are numerous benefits to an estate plan. Spouses, parents, and homeowners all have reason to consider estate plans regardless of their net worth. So, don’t limit your prospects to the wealthy. Instead, educate prospects about the universal benefits of an estate plan. Proper estate planning can help people achieve many goals, including:
- Designating a guardian for children
- Ensuring homes are transferred to designated beneficiaries in the event of death
- Keeping a business in family hands throughout generations
- Protecting your family assets in the case of future divorces
- Avoiding probate
- Maintaining privacy of assets since trusts are not public records
- Making provisions for digital assets/online accounts
Estate plans can protect Americans regardless of their income, and for Millennials, it’s time to plan for the future. As an estate planning attorney, you can educate this generation about the benefits of estate planning and help your clients prepare for their future.