Wills & Trust Market - U.S.

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Wills and Trust Market - United States

After an extensive search through industry-related websites, industry research reports, key industry players' blogs, and industry statistic portals, details about the future projected and expected growth rate for the wills & trusts market in the US do not appear to be available in the public domain. However, the research team was able to garner valuable insights about the growth drivers of the US trust and estate market, estate planning trends among Americans, some growth impediments, and the growth witnessed by the key industry players to provide context for the wills & trusts market future potential and growth.

Helpful Findings

  • The US Trusts & Estates market was valued at $198.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a rate of 2.9% in 2020.
  • The market has witnessed constant growth over the past five years and has grown at a CAGR of 4.3% over the 2015-2020 period. The estimated growth rate for the 2020-2025 period is behind the paywall.
  • As per data from Techcrunch, US estate planning is a $180 billion industry and is expected to surge in the coming years, primarily driven by the introduction of digital services in the industry.
  • In addition, as millennials start having children and begin thinking about their wills, it is expected to drive future industry growth.
  • The US wills & trusts market has a huge built-up potential demand that is likely to underpin the future market growth. This is corroborated by the fact that nearly 71.6% of Americans currently do not have an up-to-date will, and just 41% of millennials and 48% of older Americans have done some form of will & trust planning by designating a power of attorney.
  • One of the key impediments in the future market growth is the declining trend among Americans to have a will in place. As per data from Caring.com, since 2017, there has been a 25% decline in the number of adult Americans that have a will or similar document in place.
  • In addendum, since 2019, there has been a 20% and 25% decline in the number of older and middle-aged adults respectively with estate planning documents. However, about 60% of Americans regard estate planning to be extremely or somewhat important, which augurs well for market growth.
  • Some key players operating in the market include Trust & Will, Everplans, Vanguard, and UBS USA among others. Some leading digital players include Quicken WillMaker Plus, Rocket Lawyer, Law Depot, Legal Zoom, Willing, Total Legal, and US Legal Wills among others.
  • Trust & Will is an example of a company disrupting the wills and trusts market in the US. The company has grown its platform enrollments to more than 60,000 members since inception, representing $15.1 billion in total assets. Additionally, the company is investing $6 million to expand its sales and marketing, product development, and partnerships.

Research Strategy

The research team began with searching through the industry reports from Deloitte, IBIS World, Techcrunch, Grandview Research, Business Insider, etc as these reports are an extremely potent source for estimated growth-related information for any market. However, there were no specific reports found for the US wills & trusts market. The team came across a couple of reports for the UK market and an IBIS World report on the US Trusts & Estates market. The estimated growth data in the IBIS World report was behind the paywall and then no related proxy data could be fetched from the same. The team then searched through the media articles from Forbes, Bloomberg, Live Mint, WSJ, PR Newswire, etc. However, again no pertinent information could be located and all the data found was apropos of the will and estate planning trends among Americans.

Lastly, the research team tried to triangulate the information by using the forecasted revenue growth numbers of some top industry players. In the absence of any industry level information, the research team planned to use the average growth number for the top industry players as a proxy for the future wills and trusts market growth. While the team was able to identify some key players (listed above in findings) operating in the wills and trusts market in the United States, all of these were private in nature or did not break out their revenues from the estate planning segment. Hence, they did not have any forecasted revenue data available for them. In addition, no past revenue growth numbers were also available which could have been used as a ballpark estimate. Thus, no pertinent information could be triangulated.
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Will and Trust Market Overview

Information regarding wills and trusts in the United States includes the fact that overall, Americans are not prepared, there are various reasons why Americans don't have wills, fewer Americans are getting wills, and wills are the most common type of estate planning document followed by living trusts. More data is below.

Americans are Not Prepared

  • According to the American Bar Association, 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan.
  • Moreover, 71.6% of Americans do not have an up-to-date will, including just 50% of people over the age of 65.
  • Wealthy Americans are not better prepared, as only 10% of Americans who earn between $100,000 and $150,000 have an up-to-date will and just 15% of those earning more than $150,000 have an up-to-date will.
  • Even those who have wills are not adequately prepared, as 50% of Americans who have wills incorrectly believe they will protect them from probate court following their death.

Reasons Why People Don't Have Wills

  • The AARP found that the biggest reason why people do not have wills is that "they haven’t gotten around to it" (47%).
  • Nearly half of Americans (49%) believe they don't have enough assets to worry about having a will.
  • Over half of Americans (53%) say it is difficult to find an advisor they trust to help them develop a will or estate plan.
  • Three-quarters of Americans (74%) say that estate planning is a confusing topic.
  • This is especially true for minorities as 200% more Hispanics in 2020 say they do not know how to get a will than they did in 2017 (12% vs 4%).
  • In 2020, 6.8% of people said wills are too expensive to set up compared to just 4% in 2017.

Fewer Americans are Getting Wills

  • A YouGov/Caring.com survey found that there has been a 25% decrease in the number of Americans who have a will since 2017.
  • The percentage of people who have wills has decreased across all age groups:
  • Just 16.4% people between the ages of 18 and 24 have wills compared to 18% in 2019.
  • Only 27.2% of people between the ages of 24 and 54 have wills compared to 37% in 2019.
  • About 48% of people over the age of 55 have wills compared to 60% in 2019.

Wills are the Most Common Estate Planning Document

  • In 2020, wills are the most common estate planning document at 23.9%.
  • Living trusts account for just 13% of estate planning documents and advanced health care directives represent only 6.2% of estate planning documents.
  • Overall, just 20% of Americans have living trusts.

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