Since COVID-19 became widespread, many American millennials have begun planning their estates. However, a new study from Toronto-based security and privacy provider 1Password suggests many of them might not have their parents’ complete and necessary digital information if they pass away.
Millennials aged 25-40 years old aged 25-40 years old were surveyed by 1Password in for its Great Wake Up Call Report, in partnership with Trust & Will and Willful.
It aimed to find out how this generation secures important documents and passwords, as well as stores and transfers digital assets.
Over two-thirds (68%) of millennials don’t have a will, and less than one-third (33%) have indicated how they would like their electronic accounts handled after they die.
Only 3% of wills created or updated by American millennials in the past year contained online passwords, even though almost three out of four (72%) of them had wills.
Most of us still secure sensitive documents the old-fashioned way.
The majority of millennials (81%) said they keep significant documents, including their birth certificates, in a physical location, such as a lockbox, safe, or filing cabinet.
In terms of online security, 51% of respondents said they remember their passwords, while 25% keep them written down. Meanwhile, twenty percent of respondents use password managers.
In the United States, nearly half of millennials (57%) believe that granting their executor access to their social media accounts is more significant than sending emails, paying for subscriptions, or shopping at Amazon.
The majority of respondents (67%) still place a high priority on sharing credentials to banking/financial accounts.
Parent-to-child conversations are still challenging for millennials. The majority of respondents (52%) said they never discussed digital handovers with their parents or cannot recall having such a discussion.
According to six in ten respondents who have executed wills, accessing the accounts of the deceased is more difficult than expected.
Specifically, only one in three respondents (36%) know or have access to the passwords of their parents’ online accounts, despite the fact that more than half (51%) will be responsible for managing their parents’ wills.
Two out of five respondents (41%) said they shared passwords on a written list, while 39% said they shared passwords verbally, and 25% said they shared passwords via email, cloud Google Docs, PDF, or a similar platform. In an ironic twist, sharing your password with loved ones becomes increasingly important to ensure they have access to your digital legacy after you pass.
CEO Jeff Shiner of 1Password states: “Millennials especially are facing the brunt of these shifting pressures, as they’re balancing responsibilities for their own growing families while also caring for aging parents. Transition plans have long been a taboo topic, but it’s time to destigmatize these discussions and ensure our digital lives are in order, so the responsibility doesn’t fall on others.”
With the COCID-19 pandemic, we’ve become more conscious of our mortality, and we’ve been considering how to ensure the smooth handover of our estates – especially given the increasing use of digital platforms.