PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The pandemic has had a lot of different impacts, but this one is intriguing. More people are taking the time to do life planning and draft wills and Millennials are leading the wave.
Cody Barbo, the CEO and Founder of Trust & Will, says COVID-19 has been a wake up call to part of the Millennial generation.
"I want to a give new term for millennials, that is the elder millennial, which I am one. It's the 30 to 40 crowd, which makes up about half of us. Over 40 million elder millennials in this country."
Barbo says there has been a mortality quotient that has surfaced in the pandemic. "When you look at the fact that 90% of kids are born to millennial parents, we make up 50% of the workforce, we're in the wealth building phase of our life, majority of homes are now purchased by Gen X, and millennials, not boomers who are downsizing. It really is the first time that we're kind of adulting a little bit, and making some responsible decisions."
And he points out its understandable, just check any social or conventional media outlet. "Seeing death around us every single day on social media, the news, maybe in our own families, was just this wake up call maybe secondary to having kids and tertiary to having your home purchase last couple years, that you know maybe I'm not going to last forever."
So websites like Trust & Will are getting flooded with younger people looking ahead.
"The majority of our users, are older, in fact over two thirds are now 30 to 55."
Many of the others are Boomers coming back to make updates to wills that in many cases are way out of date.
Barbo says while the catalyst may have been the pandemic it also coincides with a natural progression of life. "Typically it's when you have children, as the number one reason people set up an estate plan. Second reason would be the purchase of the home. And then the third is a bit of a dose of reality, you either are sick, you're going in for surgery, or you're maybe taking care of a loved one, or you just lost a loved one and you're dealing with that mess and you don't want your family to deal with it."
Barbo says about 60% of the population are living life without a will, "and that's really concerning."
That is taking a risk he says because without a will states take over with probate hearings to decide who will get what after you pass. That often results in lawsuits and family infighting.
All of this is being made even more complicated by a new category of assets. Barbo says, "There's also this digital asset of whether it's cryptocurrency, or your social media, your photos, everything is in the cloud these days, and how those digital assets are accounted for, are sometimes just as important as the traditional assets like your checking or savings account."
Those digital assets include things like your social media pages and all those memories and documents you have stored in a cloud somewhere.
We've all heard the stories of people leaving everything to their pet, and Barbo says millennials are no exception, there are some interesting bequeaths but also, "We see a lot of young people, leaving more money or larger gifts to charities and nonprofits that whether it's their church, their alma mater."
There are a number of online websites available for you to like Trust & Will and Barbo says they are easy to use if your situation is not overly complicated.
Once the will is completed you have to print and get your signature notarized to make it official.
All the documents are state compliant, so they are legal where you live.
Barbo says many people are intimidated by the process, which is in reality very simple.
A lot of families found out the painful way this year what its like to experience loss and then have to deal with an estate where there is no will.
Remember, what a person says they want to happen is only possible if its in writing.
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