Perspectives on intergenerational bequests: inheritance arrangements and family resources

Jeanette A. Lawrence, Jacqueline J. Goodnow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper analyses two opposing perspectives on older adults' arrangements for making inheritance bequests to their families. It consider proposals that elders should be seen predominantly as "'Hedonistic Self-Server Skiers" who spend on themselves resources that could be given to younger generations, or as "Sensible Squirrels" who save for their old age and have resources to pass on to younger generations. The paper considers five lines of argument in support of each perspective, and makes reservations based on the available evidence. It is argued that neither perspective covers the phenomena. Instead, it is proposed that inheritance arrangements are varied in the wealth available for transfer, in the forms of bequests made, and in the motivations of bequesters. On the basis of the evidence, the authors propose further lines of research focused on how bequests strike a balance between the competing demands of contemporary life, including inheritance arrangements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-14
    Number of pages10
    JournalFamily Matters
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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