Inheritance Trends: How They May Affect Today’s and Tomorrow’s Estate Planning

Estate planning is changing from estate owners to beneficiaries. As estate planning tools evolve to address digital funds or include the care and well-being of pets as property, estate plan strategies also change. Welcome to our exploration of the fascinating world of estate planning, where the future meets the present in a digital age. Have you ever wondered what assets Americans most desire to inherit or how they're preparing for their digital legacies?

A recent survey by OnePoll on behalf of Trust & Will, “National Estate Planning Study: What do Americans Want to Pass Down,” revealed that Americans have some intriguing preferences regarding inheritance. The top assets respondents wanted to inherit were not just monetary; they included sentimental items and even pets. This article shares valuable insights into the inheritance trends impacting today’s and tomorrow’s estate planning strategies.

How Inheritance Trends May Affect Your Estate Planning Strategies

House or Property: Most respondents (65%) desired to inherit real estate, highlighting the significance of property ownership in inheritance considerations. Property owners passing a home to their heir should talk with an estate planning attorney about a will, trust, or both to avoid probate and simplify the transfer of their assets after they pass away.

Four-Legged Friends: Astonishingly, 59% of respondents stated they would like to inherit pets, showcasing people's emotional attachment to their furry companions. Individuals who leave their beloved companions to someone they trust after they pass or in case of incapacity will consider leaving the pet to a trusted caretaker with money for the pet’s care in a will or trust.

Monetary Assets: The respondents’ third choice was money, with 58% hoping to inherit money. For estate owners distributing money to their beneficiaries, wills and trusts can be flexible tools to avoid probate and simplify the process for family and friends.

How Digital Assets and Banking are Changing Estate Plans

Digital Banking: A whopping 64% of respondents prefer managing their finances using digital banking platforms, signaling a shift towards digital financial management. This digital shift may change terms for trustees and how they collect, manage, and distribute estate assets to beneficiaries.

Digital Signatures: Over the past year, Americans have embraced digital signatures, with an average of five electronic signings per year, including estate planning documents, such as wills and testaments. Talk to your estate planning attorney about digital signature options.

Future Planning: Despite the prevalence of digital tools, less than half (45%) of respondents reported having a will, highlighting the need for increased awareness and accessibility of estate planning services.

Inheritance Trends and Estate Planning Key Takeaways:

  • Inheritance Trends: Americans have some intriguing preferences regarding inheritance.
  • Changes in Estate Planning: Strategies for owners leaving real estate and pets to loved ones are changing.
  • Digital Assets and Banking: Embrace digital tools for efficient estate planning and management.


Managing various aspects of our lives online has become the norm in today's digital age. As digital assets and banking practices meet estate planning, strategies will change. Work with an estate planning attorney to create a plan that fits your needs.

Reference: Trust & Will “National Estate Planning Study: What do Americans Want to Pass Down”

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