Agreement between aging parent's bequest intention and middle-aged child's inheritance expectation

Kyungmin Kim, David J. Eggebeen, Steven H. Zarit, Kira S. Birditt, Karen L. Fingerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study investigated discrepancies in expectations of aging parents and their middle-aged offspring regarding future inheritances. Methods: Data from 327 older parent- Adult child dyads were analyzed. Using multilevel models, we examined factors (e.g., economic resources, family characteristics, current support exchanges, and beliefs about family obligation) associated with expectations of inheritance. We also explored patterns of correspondence in expectations over inheritance within dyads and what factors are associated with these patterns. Results: We found a significant generational difference in expectations of inheritance, with children less likely to expect inheritances than parents expected to give. Parent's income, number of siblings, and support currently given to children were significantly associated with both parents' and children's positive expectations of inheritance. The effects of child's income, support given to parent, and parent's gender on inheritance expectations differed between parents and children. Compared with discordant dyads (parents intended to leave a bequest, but their child did not expect an inheritance), correspondent dyads (both parents and children expected a bequest) showed higher income of parents and children, more support given to the child, and lower levels of child's filial obligation. Implications: Although bequest decisions are circumscribed by parent's financial resources, our findings suggest that they are also a continuation of established patterns of exchanges. Parents and children form their intention or expectation about inheritance based on different factors, leaving open the possibility of misunderstandings between the generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1031
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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