What Inheritance?

What Inheritance?

Are you expecting an inheritance from your parents? The family home, maybe, or a chunk of money to put toward your nest egg or your kids' college funds?

According to new research, few Americans would answer "yes" to this question.

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The survey—compiled by Interest.com—reveals that only 27% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 59 expect to receive an inheritance from any family member.

Young people, in particular, tend to be pessimistic about their inheritance prospects: "Younger people tend to be perhaps too conservative in estimating whether or not they’ll get an inheritance because they don’t want to think about it,” Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com, said in the report.

Unsurprisingly, this dismal outlook is likely a result of the economic downturn and recession—households lost $16 trillion in net worth from third quarter 2007 to first quarter 2009, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve. With so many families losing so much, Americans just don't think there will be much left to inherit once their relatives are gone.

RELATED: What Did Our Kids Learn From the Recession?

However, as TODAY reports, many experts say that people may be a little too pessimistic about their inheritance prospects. Derek Gabrielsen, a wealth adviser with Strategic Wealth Partners, said he believes that among those who expect to inherit nothing, about 50% will end up inheriting something.

“The baby boomer generation is, without question, going to be the largest wealth transfer in American history … from them to the next generation,” Gabrielsen told TODAY.

How People Would Spend Inheritance Cash

Sante said in the report, “Even a relatively small inheritance can make up for many years of living beyond your means or saving too little. It could be the ultimate financial ‘get out of jail free’ card for many families."

Survey respondents are aware of this fact: Building up a nest egg and paying off debt were the two most popular responses when they were asked how they'd spend inheritance money.

RELATED: How I Squandered My Inheritance at Age 18

If you get an inheritance from a family member—expected or otherwise—how would your spend it?

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