Why do people bequeath?

Why do people bequeath?

Anna Nicińska

 

Keywords: bequest behaviour, planned bequests, accidental bequests, making a will

 

Summary: The question of why people would like to, or would not wish to bequeath, does not lend itself to an easy answer. This question has hardly been investigated by social scientists in Poland. The aim of this article is to present a critical and in-depth review of the foreign literature on bequest behaviour, and to advance propositions for subsequent research. The up-to-date state of the art knowledge leads us to the hypothesis that “bequests are left accidentally.” Possible approaches to testing the hypothesis are discussed with a particular focus on how informative the making of a will and the subjective probability to bequeath might be. We conclude that the up-to-date attempts to answer why people bequeath and whether people want to bequeath remain unsuccessful. Further research should include a study on the prevalence of inheritances accompanied with a will; intertemporal analysis linking bequest behaviour and will-making with the subjective probability to bequeath; and finally the development of the theoretical model accounting for bequest behaviour yielding testable claims.

 

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