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58% of over-55s ‘want to see benefits of legacies in their lifetimes’

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More than half (58%) of over-55s would like to see the benefits of giving significant financial help to their family while they are still alive, rather than leave an inheritance in a will, a survey has found.

Aviva, which commissioned the research, said longer lifespans increase the age at which people inherit from their parents.

It pointed to separate research suggesting that someone born in the 1960s would typically receive an inheritance on the death of their last parent at the age of 58, climbing to 62 for someone born in the 1970s and 64 for a 1980s child.

Aviva’s research indicated that older generations, who may themselves have received an inheritance at a younger age, are more likely to be willing to help younger generations in their family out during their lifetime.

Asked whether they would rather leave an inheritance than help younger family members on to the property ladder, the response from the 45-plus age group was evenly split, with 26% agreeing and 25% disagreeing.

But among the 75-plus age group, 32% disagreed with this statement, while only 19% agreed.

Matt McGill, managing director of Aviva Equity Release, said: “This increasing tendency towards considering helping out now rather than beneficiaries receiving an inheritance after death is perhaps a reflection of the turbulence and uncertainty that everyone has been through since we previously ran our survey in 2016, and which shows no sign of diminishing.

“Along with the hardship people have faced, it’s also been a time of reflection for many and this could have included a resolution to live more for the moment and help family and loved ones now.”

Aviva commissioned surveys of more than 1,500 over-45s in April and more than 3,500 UK home-owners aged 55-84 in June.

People considering passing on wealth to family members would need to consider any tax implications as well as the impact on their own wealth and living standards in retirement.

Inheritance tax may have to be paid on gifts given less than seven years before someone dies, depending on factors such as the value of the gift and the relationship with the recipient.

It is possible to give away £3,000-worth of gifts each tax year without them being added to the value of an estate.

These gifts or money can be given to one person or split between several people, under the “annual exemption”. There are also various other allowances for giving gifts.

More information can be found at

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