Wills, Wealth, and Race
41 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2023
Date Written: June 2023
Racial gaps in inheritances are likely to exacerbate racial disparities in retirement wealth. One reason that Black and Hispanic decedents are less likely to pass down meaningful estates is that they are far less likely to have a will than non-Hispanic Whites. This study documents racial gaps in receiving an inheritance, in the likelihood of having a will, and in the expectation of leaving significant bequests. It then analyzes the relationship between bequest expectations and realized bequests. We conclude that Black and Hispanic decedents and those who die without a will are less likely to achieve their bequest expectations.
Keywords: Inheritance, wealth inequality, bequests, retirement security, financial wellbeing
JEL Classification: J14, J26, J32, G22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation