The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has published an analysis of inheritance patterns in the UK.
Data shows that between 2008 and 2010 the total value of all inheritances in the UK stood at a combined £75 billion, with the majority (88.4%) of inheritances comprising cash or savings.
The value of inheritances left is far higher than past surveys mainly due to the increase in home ownership rates, providing more families with assets to leave.
The principal finding of the Inheritance in Great Britain (2008/10) report was that 1.6 million adults (3.6% of the population) had received an inheritance worth £1,000 or more. Although half of inheritors received less than £10,000, 10% of people were left inheritances exceeding £125,000.
Some 19.5% of inheritances in the two-year period were in the form of property or land, while 12.4% of them constituted personal chattels such as jewellery or collectibles. A smaller proportion, just 6.5% of inheritances, comprised stock or shares.
Almost half of inheritances came from a parent or parent-in-law, whilst 22% of them came from grandparents. Uncles or aunts surprisingly accounted for 11.1% of the inheritances received, which the ONS explained with the fact that they might not have had their own children. Another 5% were assets bequeathed by non-relatives.
There are some indications in the report that total legacies left are being reduced by an increasing tendency of older generations to make lifetime gifts in the hope of avoiding a large Inheritance Tax bill, as well as supporting family when help is most needed.