/ Estates

Do Millennials Need Wills?

How young is too young to make a will? Probably younger than you think.

In Canada, the general rule is that the minimum age to write a will is 18 or 19, depending on your province. There are certain exceptions of course, but let’s focus on non-minors for this blog.

It's well known that many Canadians do not have a will, let alone one that is up-to-date. The demographic most likely to have a will is adults over age 55. But which demographic is the least likely to have a will?

Enter the millennial.

Much has been said about the habits of millennials. They’ve been accused of ruining all sorts of industries, from diamonds all the way to soap bars.

So when the number of these young people who actually have a will is a meagre 15%, could we accuse them of ruining the wills and estates industry as well?

The simple answer is no.

Why don’t millennials have wills?

“One-quarter (25%) say they haven’t written a will because they’re too young to worry about it, and 23% say they don’t have enough assets to make a will worthwhile.” - Advisor’s Edge.

It’s not that they’re disinterested in any of these things, it’s because they don’t have the disposable funds for them to allow certain indulgences.

Another reason is that many millennials haven’t been adequately educated on the many important reasons to have a will, even if they’re young.

What does a millennial will look like?

Most millennials are online in one way or another. This alone is an important reason to write a will.

What happens to the lingering social media accounts, or other online accounts like Uber or PayPal? Companies like Facebook have strict privacy policies that will prevent anyone from accessing these accounts to close them. We already know what it looks like to have no way to access important online accounts. Having a will would solve this issue.

It’s also likely that you might have a cherished pet or two. Although you might not have fortunes to bestow upon them like some lucky animals, it’s important to think about what you would want to happen to your furry friend should you pass away. Dying intestate might not deal with your pets how you would have wanted.

Although the majority of millennials don’t own a house, it’s likely that they at least have a bank account, a credit card or two, and maybe a car. None of these can be accessed without an estate trustee.

“If you die without a Will, your family will need to go through a court process to appoint an estate trustee. You will also be unable to choose who you think would be the ideal estate trustee.” - Maureen Berry, Partner at Fasken.

You might not have large assets, but you still have some things that need to be looked after when you’re gone.

There’s also sentimental value in the things you do own.

“...without a will, there’s no way to say give this thing to my friend, give this thing to my brother, donate this thing to charity.” - Lily Rothman, Time Magazine.

Even the small things you own are a piece of you that you’ve left behind. You have the power to make sure those pieces go to the right place.

The millennial will is not likely to be long and complicated, but that doesn’t matter; what matters is that it’s there.