Misperceptions and accessibility issues keep many people from setting up estate plans, but making it part of an HR benefits package is good for both employees and employers.
Here’s a deeper dive into the survey’s findings:
Employees do want estate plans.
According to the survey, 7 in 10 people say it’s a personal goal to hand down wealth to family. While 53% currently have an estate plan in place, among those who don’t, 63% say they’ve seriously considered it in the past, and 70% say they expect to put one in place in the future.
Many people think estate planning is something to do in the future.
Getting Started Is Hard.
For those who do have an estate plan in place, nearly half said the most difficult part was figuring out how to start. And for those who don’t have a plan, “I don’t know how to begin” and “I don’t know anything about it” were among the most common reasons given. Respondents are also less knowledgeable about estate planning services than they are about other financial products such as mortgages and retirement savings accounts.
Employees Think Estate Planning Is “Not For Me.”
Even the term “estate planning” is a misnomer, conjuring up images of grand homes, so it’s not surprising that many employees think the process is mainly about handing down wealth to family. But estate planning actually encompasses other important end-of-life decisions, such as medical directives and funeral costs.
There’s A Generational Wealth And Knowledge Gap.
The survey revealed that parents are a major source of influence, and that their behavior predicts whether or not their children have an estate plan. Nearly 70% of respondents said their parents have or had an estate plan in place, and of that group, 83% have set one up themselves. For respondents who said their parents don’t or didn’t have a plan, less than 20% have their own plan in place.
People of color and those who live in rural areas face added barriers.
Employees who aren’t white and those who live in rural areas are less knowledgeable about estate planning and less likely to have an estate plan. Among rural respondents, only 27% consider themselves knowledgeable about estate planning products, compared with 66% of urban respondents. Rural respondents were also twice as likely as urban respondents to say they find the process of setting up an estate plan challenging and describe it as tedious.
Offering Estate Planning As An Employee Benefit Could Help Overcome Barriers.
More and more companies are also recognizing the value of including financial wellness services such as estate planning in their employee benefits packages. Not only are healthy, confident, happy employees more productive in their jobs, but offering financial wellness benefits can also be a differentiating factor in recruiting and retaining talent.