Will awareness: Research reveals inheritance plans

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More than half the seniors surveyed in the report agreed today's younger generations have too great an expectation of an inheritance from their parents/grandparents.

More than half the seniors surveyed in the report agreed today's younger generations have too great an expectation of an inheritance from their parents/grandparents.

As the saying goes, ‘you can’t take it with you’. 

Yet despite the inevitability of death, how assets will be distributed after someone passes away, and to whom, vary greatly among Australians, as does the degree to which plans have been made at all.

A Core Data report on Inheritance and Retirement commissioned by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency showed most seniors have a clear plan on how they will leave an inheritance, planning to pass on almost all of their estate to their children, although not as much for their grandchildren.

But the report also indicated some one-in-four seniors think their children and/or grandchildren expect too much of an inheritance from them, with close to three-in-ten feeling resentful over it.

For seniors likely to leave an inheritance for their children, close to half (47.9 per cent) had a detailed plan, while more than two in five (42 per cent) had a vague plan. 

Seniors planning to leave an inheritance for their children said they would pass on an average of 88.2 per cent of their estate, according to the report.

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Regarding its distribution, 93.2 per cent of respondents said they planned to divide it equally between their children, with smaller percentages planning to leave a higher proportion for a particular child or children.

Most seniors did not feel or expect to feel guilty for spending money (88.9 per cent) or do not live or expect to live below their means (83.9 per cent) to accommodate plans to leave an inheritance for their children.

Top reasons the respondents gave for not planning to leave an inheritance included that they had nothing to leave (36.5 per cent), wanting to take care of their own needs first (32.5 per cent) and that their children were self-sufficient and didn’t require an inheritance (27.3 per cent).

Smaller percentages said it was because their children didn’t deserve an inheritance (4.3 per cent) and because they would rather leave it to other charitable causes (3.5 per cent).