How the pandemic made millennials rethink their digital legacies

How the pandemic made millennials rethink their digital legacies

Nick Summers by Nick Summers on

Before the pandemic, most millennials didn’t have a will, let alone a plan for handing over their digital accounts.

Why? Many simply don’t know how to get started, or worry the process is too expensive, complicated, and time consuming. Others simply feel that it’s not a pressing issue, especially if they’re still healthy or don’t have a lot of savings.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, however. It forced millions of millennials to reconsider their health, finances, and relationships, as well as what would happen if they were to suddenly pass away. But has this moment of reflection triggered a wave of new wills and digital estate plans, which include passwords and other online credentials? To find out, we conducted a survey with estate-planning experts Willful and Trust & Will.

Some of the findings might surprise you.

Takeaways from the U.S.

  • 68% of millennials still don’t have a will. However, the last two years have been a wake-up call. Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents who have a will said they created or updated it during the pandemic.

  • The financial repercussions are real. In our survey, millennials said their loved ones would lose access to an average of $22,500 USD if they were to pass away without creating a will or handover plan.

  • More than half (51%) of millennials said they would be responsible for carrying out their parents' wills. Despite this, only 36% know or have access to their parents' passwords for their online accounts.

  • Many people still don’t know the best way to manage or hand over their passwords. More than half (51%) of respondents said they memorized their password, while 25% kept them on a piece of paper and 20% stored them via a password manager like 1Password.

  • Most millennials who share their passwords are using old-fashioned and potentially insecure methods. 41% of respondents said they had written out a list of their passwords, while 39% said they had shared them verbally.

  • The situation is slowly improving. For example, 34% of respondents said the pandemic had encouraged them to chat with their parents about a digital handover in the past year.

Read the full reports

If you’re curious to learn more, check out the full U.S. and Canada reports, produced in partnership with Willful and Trust & Will. Both shed more light on how millennials are approaching wills, password management, and digital estate planning.

Create your own digital estate plan

Haven’t made your own digital estate plan yet? No worries: we’ve got a step-by-step guide for that. It breaks down the process of organizing your online accounts and crafting a handover plan that’s secure, comprehensive, and easy for your loved ones to follow. In addition, we have guides that explain:

We hope these resources, combined with our latest reports, inspire more people to stop and think about their own will and digital legacy. Everyone’s situation is different, so if you have any questions – or want to speak with someone about your existing will – we recommend contacting an estate-planning expert like Trust & Will or Willful. They’ll be more than happy to help.

Content Marketing Manager

Nick Summers - Content Marketing Manager Nick Summers - Content Marketing Manager

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