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Brits still expect hefty £78k inheritance from parents

1st May 2013 Print

The majority of Brits ‘expect’ to receive inheritance from their parents – but in reality four in 10 won’t get a penny, according to new research. The findings emerged in a study of 2,000 adults, and show that while 75% of people aged 20 to 35 hope to receive a windfall when their parents pass away, they look set to be disappointed.

In fact, the average person assumes they’ll get in the region of £78,000 when mum and dad pass on, so are in for quite a shock.

A fifth of children over the age of 20 are hoping their parents’ wealth will sort out all of their money problems, and have completely shelved all financial plans for the future as a result.

But unfortunately, 49% of parents aged 50 and over have already had to dip into their savings to get by, and four in 10 have already been giving their children hand-outs to help them with college fees, driving lessons and rent payments.

Stacey Stothard, Corporate Communications Manager at Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said: ”Despite the ongoing economic conditions, it really is a high risk strategy for people to be resting their financial hopes on estimating their parents’ wealth – and then assuming it will all be coming their way.

”The sad reality is when times are tough financially for them, they’re also tough for their parents, so it comes as little surprise that many have had to dip in to chunks of their savings to get by.

”What’s more, many parents who can see their children struggling financially are increasingly sharing their money with their children while they’re alive and well. It goes without saying that this will impact on any inheritance later on.

”The knock on effect could see children sleepwalking into a financial nightmare, basing their financial plans on something they actually might never receive.”

The study shows that 68% of kids expect to inherit their parent’s house when they pass away, while 32% think they’ll get the car.

67% are convinced they’ll receive a cash injection, and as such, 54% aren’t making any financial plans for a comfortable retirement.

Indeed, a fifth of those polled are counting on their parent’s inheritance to help them get out of debt, while the same percentage hope they’ll finally be able to step foot on the property ladder.

A quarter of people aged 20 to 35 hope they’ll be able to pay off the mortgage with some inheritance, and 15% are banking on having it to put their own children through university.

Paying off student and car loans, helping their own children with a house or car and holidays are just some of the other ways kids intend to spend their inheritance – if they were to get any.

But as the statistics show, seven in 10 adults aged 50 and over think savings are better spent now, as and when the family needs it.

As such, while 84% of parents would love to be able to leave thousands of pounds to their offspring in order to carve out a comfortable future for them, they have chosen to spend much of the money on the family now.

A quarter says their grandchildren are actually more likely to benefit from any money which is left when they pass away.

And while 57% of people know their children are expecting to receive inheritance, an overwhelming 95% think they need to become more responsible for their own future.

Stacey Stothard added: ”Rather than second-guessing their parents financial matters, people should never ignore the benefits of investing a little time into fully understanding their own.

”The inheritance debate is never straightforward, and no matter how tough things are, it’s always much better to live within your own means, and base your financial plans on your own circumstances, rather than relying on speculation about others.

”What is worrying from this research is that a fifth of respondents are relying on an assumed inheritance from their parents to help pay off debt. Clearly if this doesn’t materialise, the impact could be very severe.

”No matter what your financial circumstances, it’s much better to recognise where you are and to review your financial affairs regularly, rather than place a dependence on benefiting from someone else’s. Doing the latter is a big gamble, and in today’s financial climate, it might not pay off.”

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