We analyze data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) on private intergenerational transfers between parents and children to assess the magnitude of such transfers and the possible motives behind them.
- We find that a household’s financial respondent often seems to understate transfers from his or her in-laws. Thus, overall inheritances are substantially understated.
- About 30-40 percent of households eventually inherit.
- Inheritances are a mixture of intentional and accidental bequests, with the latter twice as prevalent.