Expected Bequests and Their Distribution
NBER Working Paper No. 9142
Based on a sample of actual bequests that is population-representative and on the subjective probability of bequests, we estimate the distribution of bequests that the older population will make. We find that the distribution is highly skewed, so that the typical baby-boom person will receive a very modest inheritance. This is partly due to the skewed distribution of wealth and partly due to the tendency of the wealthy to have fewer children. But it is also due to anticipated dissaving: we estimate that households in the age band 70-74 will bequeath just 39% of their wealth, consuming the rest before they die.