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Inheritance is a taboo subject

  • 74% of adults have never discussed inheritance with their parents
  • 37% wouldn’t talk to their parents about inheritance under any circumstances
  • 34% have no idea what they stand to inherit

Three quarters (74%) of adults have never discussed what they stand to inherit financially, if anything, with their parents, new research from Investec Wealth & Investment (“IW&I”) reveals.     

When asked why, almost half (48%) are concerned they would appear money grabbing and think their parents would be upset if they raised it while 46% don’t want to think about their parents passing away.


Such is the reluctance to talk about inheritance that only one in ten (9%) people would do so even if one of their parents was close to passing away.  Furthermore, over a third (37%) wouldn’t raise the topic under any circumstances and a quarter (25%) would only talk about it at their parents’ request. 

 “It’s surprising how common it is still for parents and children to treat inheritance as a taboo subject. Clearly it’s a sensitive area and by raising it children don’t want to be seen by their parents as wishing them away. Parents should realise that in most cases it’s in their children’s interests to receive some guidance around their inheritance plans, preferably with enough notice to help the family as a whole to plan accordingly.” 

Inheritance ignorance

Given a widespread reluctance to discuss inheritance, one in three (34%) adults with living parents has no idea at all about what they what they stand to gain and a further 18% has a rough understanding.  Only one in five (19%) said they have a very good idea about what, if anything, they will inherit. 

 “Sadly, many parents never get round to estate planning before they pass away, which means that few if any measures can be taken to mitigate the impact of inheritance tax.  This can reduce assets worth over £325,000, including property, by 40%.

“Many families find that it’s often easier to discuss the subject of inheritance with an estate planning professional, who is better placed to take a dispassionate view and provide sound advice based on their financial circumstances.  As a general rule it’s better for parents and children alike to get the subject into the open and we’d encourage parents to take the lead in this regard.

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