Studies Show More Americans Are Creating Wills Online
VALLEY FORGE, Pa., March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — PlannedGiving.Com is offering nonprofits a new tool to attract donors: An online will planner that gives prospects a chance to create their own legacy. The move comes as stories in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and ABC News detail studies showing Americans have gotten more serious about their end-of-life plans since 2020. Prior to COVID-19, more than half of all Americans lacked an estate plan.
Online Will-Planning Popularity Grows
The pandemic also caused a shift in how estate plans are made. Although experts recommend hiring an attorney, in this age of social distancing many Americans are turning to online will planning because it doesn’t require a face-to-face meeting (and they can always send their will to a lawyer for review).
It’s a trend nonprofits are watching closely, because if the will planner is hosted on a nonprofit’s website, it makes it even easier for supporters to include transformative gifts to their favorite organizations.
To that end, PlannedGiving.Com has taken the lead by creating a free (for donors) online will planner called LegacyPlanner. "LegacyPlanner serves as a reminder for donors to get their estate in order. It also gives them an opportunity to invest in their legacy by making your organization part of their estate plans," says Viken Mikaelian, CEO.
A Unique Approach
While there are other free, online will services available, LegacyPlanner is unique in that it was developed specifically for use by nonprofits. "LegacyPlanner is designed to directly integrate into planned giving websites designed and maintained by PlannedGiving.com," Mikaelian says. "It establishes trust, because LegacyPlanner does not take them to a third-party site. And because it’s free for the prospective donor, the nonprofit stays top of mind when it’s time for that prospect to create their legacy."
Although bequests are still the most popular planned gift, LegacyPlanner can lead to an increase in other legacy gifts as well, Mikaelian says. "The donor can use LegacyPlanner to get started, and use an attorney to structure more complicated gifts."
Prime Time to Promote Estate Planning
Because of the renewed interest in estate planning — and because many Americans still lack a will — now is a prime time for nonprofits to remind supporters about the importance of estate planning, Mikaelian says
"My own father died without a will. It took my wife and I over a year of hard work to sort out his estate for my mom. Our family would have had time to properly mourn his passing had he been better prepared."
The experience inspired Mikaelian to help spread the word about estate planning.
A Host of Estate Planning Tools
PlannedGiving.Com offers a suite of other estate planning products as well, including an estate planning kit called Live Well, Leave Well. "We want to inspire people to think about and plan for the inevitable," Mikaelian says. "We want to inspire them to shape their legacy while also sparing their families unnecessary pain."
PlannedGiving.Com has been helping nonprofits meet their digital and print planned giving marketing needs since 1998. To learn more, visit PlannedGiving.Com.
William G.P. Scheller
Chief Strategic Officer