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One in four retirees shun family in their will

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Written by: Emma Lunn
01/10/2019
More than a quarter (28 per cent) of retirees plan to leave their money to friends, animal charities and neighbours instead of children and grandchildren.

Thousands of people relying on a big inheritance from relatives could be in for a shock, as 28 per cent of people polled by Responsible Life said they won’t be leaving any money to them.

Even if they are left something, it’s likely to be a lot less than they hoped for, according to the retirement specialist. Three-quarters (74 per cent) of children or grandchildren believe they will receive an inheritance, but 67 per cent of retirees say they will be leaving less than their relations are expecting.

Among those not intending to leave anything to younger family members, 55 per cent said they plan to spend everything they have before they die, while 25 per cent have nothing to leave.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) said they won’t be leaving anything because they don’t get on with their children or grandchildren. A similar proportion (22 per cent) say they’re not leaving anything because they believe people need to make their own way in the world and think the so-called ‘snowflake generation’ should not rely on inheritance.

Those who said they weren’t planning on giving any money or assets to their children or grandchildren were most likely to leave something to charity instead. When asked to pick three beneficiaries to their will, 69 per cent said a charity, 66 per cent said close friends, while 24 per cent named a helpful neighbour to receive the money.

A local cat charity or home was chosen by 14 per cent of survey respondents, and a local dog home or charity by 11 per cent, while 7 per cent said they’d leave something for their pets in their will.

The answer was similar for those who said they would only leave some of their money to children and grandchildren, and the rest to other beneficiaries. Of those, 75 per cent would leave money to charity, 56 per cent would leave some to a close friend, 22 per cent to a helpful neighbour, 10 per cent to a dog home, and 13 per cent to a cat home.

When asked how much money those leaving money to children or grandchildren would set aside, the largest percentage (41 per cent) plan to leave 25 per cent of their money or assets, 34 per cent will leave 50 per cent, and 15 per cent will leave 75 per cent. Just 5 per cent will leave everything and 5 per cent will leave less than 10 per cent to their younger family members.

Steve Wilkie, managing director of Responsible Life, said: “The economic climate today means getting a first house or having enough money to go to university is tougher than ever, but children or grandchildren holding out for a cash injection when an elderly relative dies could be in for a shock.

“There are lots of reasons why money might not be passed on, from families not getting on to retirees not having enough to leave. For many, there’s no love lost when it comes to cash hand-outs with a quarter of retirees saying the younger generation should not rely on an inheritance and need to make their own way in the world.

“Even those who will get an inheritance probably won’t end up with the amount they were hoping for.”

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