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Over a third of grandparents don’t trust children to pass on inheritance to grandkids

Posted on 23 March 2016

  • 70% of UK grandparents will leave an inheritance
  • 55% will ‘ring fence’ the money to ensure it is left to grandchildren
  • Grandparents spend £62 a month on their grandchildren

New research from SunLife has found that the vast majority of grandparents want to leave their grandchildren a legacy, and most of those want to ring fence the money to ensure it is passed on.

Seven in ten say they plan to leave their grandchildren an inheritance and of those, more than half (55%) will leave it directly to their grandchildren rather than trusting their children to pass it on.

This decision to write their grandchildren directly into the will could be to do with the types of relationships modern grandparents have with their grandchildren.

SunLife’s research also found that half of all UK grandparents said they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren more than they enjoyed spending time with their own children when they were growing up.

And while most say they feel they spend enough time with their grandchildren, two in five would like to spend more, while three in ten say they spend more quality time with their grandchildren than they did with their own children!


Despite living 119 miles away on average, four in five grandparents provide some form of childcare for their grandchildren. Almost half babysit, one in five do the school run, one in four provide day care during the working week and one in three are there to look after their grandchildren when they are ill.

Spending so much time together also means that grandparents are spending money on them day to day; on average, grandparents spend £62 a month on their grandchildren on things like pocket money, sweets, clothes, presents, hobbies and clubs.

Top on grandparents’ list on ways they enjoy spending money on their grandkids is toys and books and ‘doing things together followed by ‘days out’.

On the whole, grandparents do not begrudge spending cash on their grandkids, but a third did say they don’t like having to fork out for school and travel expenses.

Ian Atkinson, spokesman at SunLife said: “It’s not news that grandparents love their grandchildren and are more than willing to help out with childcare – but it is interesting to see that actually, almost half feel put upon at least some of the time. And the fact that over two thirds plan to leave an inheritance direct to their grandchildren shows how much they’re in their thoughts.

“Of course, if you are planning to leave your grandchildren an inheritance, it’s important to have an up-to-date Will. Without one, the law will decide what happens to your estate so your wishes might not be met.”

About the research

Survey consisted of 2007 online interviews among UK grandparents with grandchildren under the age of 16 undertaken by Atomik research, March 2016. For more information or further breakdowns – regional, gender, work status, number of grandchildren, please contact Rachel Mason 0117 3225431.