Increasing Number of Millennials Creating Living Trusts

Increasing Number of Millennials Creating Living Trusts

While many people still think Living Trusts are reserved for the elderly, a growing number of millennials are creating comprehensive estate plans these days, and there’s a range of socioeconomic drivers.

  • Tech-worker wealth. No surprise here: This trend is most prevalent in tech-centric areas like Silicon Valley, where many young startup workers are making millions of dollars before their 30th birthdays. Investing and creating an estate plan are part of the dialog and the culture.
  • Terrorism/tragedy. The trend is also strong in cities like New York. The tragedy of 9/11 was a big wakeup call. Subsequent terrorist attacks have made us all feel vulnerable, and many young people feel the need to protect themselves and their families with long-range planning.
  • Deaths of iconic figures. The deaths of entertainment figures like George Michael and Prince hit home with a generation that grew up with their music.
  • Family responsibilities. Those millennials who marry, have children and buy a home are hit with a big dose of adult reality and feel the need to protect their children and their assets.
  • Committed relationships without marriage. Many young couples live together in committed relationships, but choose not to marry. A Living Trust, along with a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive provide protections for partners if one becomes incapacitated or dies.
  • Reliance for support. When there are other people who rely on millennials for support, and this needs to be detailed in a Will or Living Trust. For those who remain single, a Will or Trust will identify how their estates will be distributed among their designated heirs.
  • Supporting causes. Millennials are a generation with a conscience. Many are driven by causes and want to ensure that their Wills or Trusts allocate money to a cause.
  • Protecting wealth. Many smart millennials, especially those in the tech sector, have started their own successful businesses. Others work in the family business. A Trust can designate what happens to a small business if the owner dies or becomes incapacitated if a buy-sell agreement is not in place.

Despite this little uptick of millennials creating Living Trusts, 64% of the 18-and-over population did not have a Living Trust in 2016. An estimated 60% of Americans die without a Will or Living Trust, which means their families will be faced with Probate at a very difficult time. Probate can be time-consuming and expensive. If there are minor children, the state chooses guardians for them.

A few things to be thinking about as you prepare a Living Trust

  • Update Trust with life events. Keep Trusts updated with births, deaths, divorces and significant investments. Anything that will affect the inheritances of those you love.
  • Synch beneficiaries. Crosscheck the names of beneficiaries on brokerage accounts, 401(k) accounts and life insurance policies with those listed in a Will. The beneficiaries listed on financial accounts will override those on a Will or Living Trust.
  • Save logins. Store login information to your digital assets, including passwords to banking and financial services sites, social media accounts, healthcare providers, etc. Spend some time compiling this list—most of us have online accounts for a wide range of services. Think about what information your family would need to access if something happened to you.
  • Planning for pets. This is no longer an afterthought. Pet owners need to make arrangements for their pets. Give some thought to those who would love your pet the way you do and include them in your Trust. Some pet owners allocate a yearly allowance to offset the cost of pet care.
  • Distributing valuables. If you have valuable collections or antiques, use precise wording and avoid vague terms like “my memorabilia” or “my antiques.” Be specific about these items and leave them to individuals. Don’t leave them to your heirs to divide among themselves—it can be a recipe for disaster. Note that these items don’t necessarily have to have great monetary value. Items with sentimental value have caused many family disputes.
  • Informing family of location. Make sure your family knows that you have a Trust or Will and its location. We provide a bound hard copy and a soft copy. Many of our clients share the soft copy with their beneficiary designates and/or several family members. If something happens to you and if no one can find your Trust, it’s as if it didn’t exist. The result? Your family will have to go through Probate.

Our comprehensive Living Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive. Contact us at one of our three Bay Area offices to schedule an appointment to create or update your Trust. We’re helpful, compassionate and affordable.