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Will-making prevalence and patterns in Australia: keeping it in the family

Tilse, Cheryl, Wilson, Jill, White, Ben, Rosenman, Linda and Feeney, Rachel (2015). Will-making prevalence and patterns in Australia: keeping it in the family. Australian Journal of Social Issues,50(3):319-338.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 84278914xPUB56
Title Will-making prevalence and patterns in Australia: keeping it in the family
Author Tilse, Cheryl
Wilson, Jill
White, Ben
Rosenman, Linda
Feeney, Rachel
Journal Name Australian Journal of Social Issues
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 50
Issue Number 3
ISSN 0157-6321   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 319
End Page 338
Total Pages 20
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Australian Social Policy Association
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract This article provides evidence of the prevalence of wills and the principles underpinning the intended distribution of estates in Australia. Intentions around wealth transfers and the social norms that underpin them occur in the context of predicted extensive intergenerational transfers from the ageing baby boomer generation, policies of self provision and user pays for care in old age, broader views on what constitutes 'family', the increased importance of the not-for-profit sector in the delivery of services, and the related need for philanthropy. A national telephone survey conducted in 2012 with 2,405 respondents aged 18 and over shows that wills are predominantly used to distribute assets to partners and/or equally to immediate descendants. There is little evidence that will makers are recognising a wider group of relationships, obligations and entitlements outside the traditional nuclear family, or that wills are being replaced by other mechanisms of wealth transfer. Only a minority consider bequests to charities as important. These findings reflect current social norms about entitlements to 'family' money, a narrow view of what and who constitutes 'family', limited obligation for testators to recompense individuals or organisations for care and support provided, and limited commitment to charitable organisations and civil society.
Keywords Wills
Intergenerational transfers
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 13:01:29 CST