How much does the average Australian inherit?

Published 02 Jan 2018

The decision of whether or not to contest a will in NSW may depend on various factors, including the claimant’s relationship with the deceased, beneficiaries’ financial needs and the size of the estate.

Larger estates are more likely to result in inheritance disputes, particularly if there are multiple people who are eligible to claim and feel their loved one has not adequately provided for their needs.

But how much can the average Australian expect to inherit?

Australians top estate value rankings

The average estate value that Australian retirees planned to leave to family and friends was just below US$502,000 (AU$662,532) in 2013, according to HSBC.

This figure was higher than other countries worldwide, with Singapore coming a distant second on US$370,966, while the global average was less than US$150,000.

Graham Heunis, head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC Australia, said the country’s generous inheritance laws were a key factor in the results.

“In markets like the UK and US, inheritance and estate tax may cost heirs upwards of 40 per cent of an inheritance, so retirees are inclined to give financial gifts throughout their life to pay for their children’s major life events like an education, mortgage or marriage, rather than a lump sum endowment,” he said.

“However, with no inheritance tax in Australia, it’s no surprise the value and proportion of inheritance among Australian retirees is exponentially higher than the rest of the world,” he said.

How much does each Australian receive?

People don’t often leave their entire estate to one person, so what legacy does the average beneficiary receive? Approximately AU$79,000, according to research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).

The organisation also estimated that more than 1.8 million people in the country received an inheritance at least once between 2002 and 2012.

AHURI found a strong link between inheritance and homeownership in Australia, with estate beneficiaries more likely to own property.

Inheritance expectations also have an impact on retirement planning. HSBC revealed that half of working Australians expect bequests from loved ones to part-finance their golden years. A further 14 per cent said they will largely rely on inheritance to fund their retirement.

Have you been left out of a will? Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers to see if we can help you pursue a family provision claim.

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