Attitudes to inheritance in Britain

Authors: Karen Rowlingson, Stephen McKay
Funded by: Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Published by: The Policy Press
Publication date: July 2005
ISBN: 1861347707

With the growth of home ownership and asset-based welfare, increasing numbers of people are accumulating assets. Assets and inheritance are crucially relevant to issues around living standards in older age and long-term care, and to policies such as equity release. Inheritance may increase the divide between the asset-rich and the asset-poor or policies such as right-to-buy and asset-based welfare might reduce the divide.

The main aims of this study were to explore:

A key issue here is the trade-off between asset-accumulation and asset-use for different purposes: to raise living standards in old age; to pay for care; and to bequeath. The study compared the views of different age groups and considered separately both housing assets and more liquid forms of assets.

PFRC worked in collaboration with Karen Rowlingson on this study, which comprised four stages:

  1. A brief literature review.
  2. Secondary analysis of existing quantitative and qualitative data on inheritance to provide supplementary material but also inform the development of the questionnaire.
  3. Focus groups to further develop the questionnaire.
  4. A nationally representative random survey of 2,000 adults in Britain.

Attitudes to inheritance in Britain [ Full report (PDF, 976kB) | Research summary (PDF, 108kB) ]

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