20+ Inheritance Statistics You Need to Know


Most people know and understand the idea of leaving or receiving an inheritance, but how much do you really know about your financial legacy? There is so much more to know about inheritance, so let’s break it down into the 22 most interesting inheritance statistics you must know about.

Top Inheritance Statistics 2023

Here are a few of our favorites just to get you started:

  • Children whose parents both have a degree are three times more likely to expect an inheritance than those whose parents did not go to college
  • The average unconditional inheritance for people between the ages of 55-65 is about $20,000
  • Just 5% of people with a head of household that is younger than 26 years old receive an inheritance 
  • Gross household wealth amounts to about 336,746 across all countries comparatively 
  • Families considered to be wealthy could face tax rates of as much as 61% on inherited wealth

Keep reading to see all 22 stats!

Top 22 Inheritance Statistics to Know

Listed below are the top inheritance statistics you must know if you want to learn more about the wealth inheritance world. 

Approximately 60% of the world’s pre-taxed wealth planning to be handed down is attributed to North America

North America will account for 60% of the world’s inheritance wealth in 2023, with estate planning and life insurance being major factors.

Currently only 6 states incur this tax on inheritance. 

As of 2023, the only 6 states that tax inheritance includes: Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, and Nebraska. Imagine living in one of these states and realizing you have to pay taxes on the passing of your loved one! 

Approximately 60% of Americans do not have a will when they pass away. 

Not having a will makes inheritance much more challenging and oftentimes finances do not get distributed correctly. It’s important to come up with a plan and a will as soon as you can to ensure your finances are distributed properly. 

More than half of millennials expect to receive at least $350,000 in an inheritance after their parents pass away

Although millennials believe this to be true, taxes, inflation, and other major factors could take a toll on the future of inheritance. The generation of boomers do however have the most money to give in our current financial profile. 

The average estate goal is over 2 million dollars, however; many people end up with very little legacy to leave to their families

Most people think they will have more financial assets to leave their children and grandchildren than they actually do.

Only 2% of inheritances are over 1 million dollars

Let’s be honest, you can’t get as much as you used to with 1 million dollars, so the fact that less than 2% of inheritances are worth more than that is staggering. 

Only 33% of American adults have estate planning tools in place to help dictate their inheritance

Estate planning tools are incredibly helpful for people as they navigate their wealth, so it’s concerning to know that less than a third of people in the U.S. are utilizing these tools. 

About half of all inheritances are worth less than $50,000

It’s scary to think that most peoples’ inheritance will be less than $50,000, which doesn’t leave much to work with. 

Study shows that only 27% of wealthy Americans are actually “self-made”

In more cases than not, wealthy Americans are wealthy because of the inheritances they received from family members who passed away. 

Inheritance wealth in America is increasing at a rate of almost 119% higher than it was in 1989

About 36 trillion overall is expected to be distributed to up-and-coming generations in the next 30 years. 

Only 21% of millionaires actually received an inheritance

Believe it or not, the other 79% actually made their money on their own with smart investments, good money management, and successful business endeavors. 

As of 2019, the average inheritance amount in total was $110,050

The average amount of money in total inherited by its beneficiaries in 2019 was just about $110,050. 

Although certain states require inheritances to be taxed, inheritances are typically not taxable at a federal level

As mentioned earlier there are a few states that tax inheritances however, at the federal level inheritances, just like life insurance, are not taxed. 

Across all age groups, white Americans on average, inherit about 5 times more than black households and 6 times more than Hispanic households. 

Inheritance seems to be different across all cultures.

As of 2023, you are able to write off $17,000 annually as a gift tax exclusion, and 12.92 million in an estate

Gifting more than $17,000 could result in taxation, and if your estate is worth more than $12.92 million will also result in less tax-friendly implications. 

One-third of Americans plan to leave at least 50% of their assets to their heirs

33% of Americans say that they would like to strive for at least 50% of their wealth to be left to help their children and grandchildren be put in a good place and set up for a successful future. 

68% of high-net-worth individuals say that they will require their heirs to meet certain qualifications prior to receiving the funds

Meeting certain requirements could help reduce the amount of inheritances that end up getting wasted, or spend on things the deceased would not have encouraged. Some examples would be to promise to invest or to use some of the money to open an account for their kids or grandkids in the future. 

Wrap up

As you can see, inheritance and wealth go hand in hand. How you decide to manage your money and what you choose to leave to your heirs is an individual decision, and it’s important that you plan and research ahead of time. That way, you know your legacy is handed down the way you would have intended. We all die, so why not be prepared? 

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