While the details change somewhat from survey to survey, there is something that appears to hold true in almost all studies about inheritances. It is that parents and their children have far different expectations about how much the children will inherit.
Most people do not really know how many assets their parents have. They do not know exactly how much their parents have saved for retirement. They do not know how much their parents earn at work.
When you get right down to it, adult children do not know any of the important details about their parents' finances.
There is something inherently American about not talking about money, especially how much we have and make, even with close family members. This even holds true when discussing estates and how much parents plan to leave their children as inheritances.
Only 21% of parents have told their children what to expect as an inheritance, according to Financial Advisor in "Hoping For An Inheritance? You May Not Get As Much As You Expect."
The big problem is that most of the time, children think they will inherit more from their parents than they actually will. When people are disappointed with the size of their inheritances, it is when they start to think about fighting other family members over an estate.
It is rare to learn of an estate battle started by someone who gets more than they thought they would. On the other hand, it is not at all rare to see estate litigation brought by someone who gets less.
Estate litigation is extremely expensive and emotionally taxing for all family members involved.
To avoid it in your own family, you should consider letting your children know what they can expect to receive from you as an inheritance.
Reference: Financial Advisor (March 15, 2017) "Hoping For An Inheritance? You May Not Get As Much As You Expect."