There's only one way to ensure your children are as well off as you are

 
Emma Haslett
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As Economy Struggles, Disparity Of Wealth Becomes More Glaring
Make sure your children are well off by leaving them a vast sum - or a classic car. (Source: Getty)

If your sole aspiration is to ensure your little darlings are better-off than you, there's a simple way, according to a new study: just make sure you are rich.

The report, by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, found most of the people with the highest incomes over their lifetimes were likely to have received an inheritance - and among those who did inherit, those who got the most had the highest incomes.

The study divided a group of current pensioners into fifths, and found 64 per cent of the fifth with the highest income had benefited from an inheritance, compared with just 32 per cent of the lowest-earning group, with those earning the most inheriting four times as much on average as the poorest.

The report suggested we are becoming more entitled, with 75 per cent of those born in the 1970s expecting to receive an inheritance from their parents, compared with 68 per cent for those born in the 1960s - and 38 per cent for those born in the 1930s. (Although wealth may soon start skipping a generation, if suggestions from the housing minister are anything to go by).

But it also warned wealth is increasingly unevenly distributed: it's falling into older hands, with the top half of households where all members are 80 or older holding 90 per cent of the wealth. And once it does pass to the next generation, about half stand to inherit.

The amount we are inheriting is rising, though, with the figures showing more than 70 per cent of households expected to leave an inheritance in 2012-13, compared with 60 per cent a year before.

Continuing the trend

"There is evidence that these patterns are likely to be maintained among younger generations," added the report.

"Those with higher incomes are much more likely to either have received an inheritance or expect to receive one in future. An assessment of how inequality in the amounts inherited will differ for younger generations would require the collection of new data, but would be a worthy topic for future research."

Now read: How to put your children onto the property ladder (without acrimony)

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