Owing to longer life expectancies and related long-term care costs, inheritances have flatlined in the U.S. over the past decade: Wealth transfers as a proportion of net worth dropped to 19% in 2007 from 29% in 1989. Just a tiny share of the population receives an inheritance of more than $100,000, according to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Data is scant on the type of inheritances people receive: Many people receive their inheritances through the sale of real estate--often a parent's home--while others receive financial assets. As of mid-2015, 26% of U.S. households owned traditional IRA assets, while another 17% of U.S. households owned Roth IRA assets, according to data from the Investment Company Institute. It stands to reason that people who inherit financial assets--rather than property--are often inheriting IRAs.