The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has used data gained from the first two waves of the Wealth and Assets Survey to give an understanding of inheritance trends in Great Britain.
The article highlights that numerous factors might lead to changes in the number of inheritances received over time. For example:
- Population projections point towards a growing older population in Great Britain. There are significant costs associated with living longer, whether to maintain a reasonable standard of living, or to pay for care bills. These financial pressures come during a time where incomes are likely to be lower than during working life. Such expenses are likely to diminish, if not exhaust assets which might traditionally have been passed onto others.
- Lifetime gifts, given prior to the death of the person offering the gift, hold a number of advantages over inheritances – namely the potential avoidance of inheritance tax and the ability to offer support when it is most needed. A choice to provide in this way, rather than through an inheritance will reduce the subsequent number of inheritances reported.
- Home-ownership rates have increased across much of the last century, rising from 23% in 1918 to a peak of 69% in 2001. This rise should increase the number of inheritances as more individuals possess a tangible asset to leave to others.
The ONS data shows that the percentage of adults receiving an inheritance valued at £1,000 or more in the two year period was 3.6% – or 1.6 million adults. A tenth of inheriting individuals received no more than £1,000, half of inheritors received less than £10,000, and a tenth received an inheritance valued at £125,000 or more.
The combined total of all inheritances received over the two year period was estimated at £75.0 billion.
Source: Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.2.0.
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