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New Report Predicts U.S. Wealth Transfer of $59 Trillion, With $6.3 Trillion in Charitable Bequests

Saturday, June 7, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Sheila Gidley
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An estimated $59 trillion —divided among heirs, charities, estate taxes and estate closing costs—will be transferred from 93.6 million American estates from 2007 to 2061, in the greatest wealth transfer in U.S. history, according to a new report issued by researchers at the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy (CWP) at Boston College. Download the full report.

The study estimates results for scenarios with 1% to 4% growth and for sunset estate tax provisions
as well as extension of the current (2012) estate tax provisions with the $5 million exemption with all
estimates expressed in 2007 purchasing power. The $59 trillion value corresponds to 2% growth and the extension of tax provisions current as of the date the research was finalized, and equals $67.5 trillion in current purchasing dollars.


• Through estates, heirs will receive $36 trillion.

• Federal estate taxes will claim $5.6 trillion.

• The sum directed from final estates (for which there is no surviving spouse) toward charity
is estimated at $6.3 trillion.

• Total gifts to charity during the study period are vastly greater, according to the study,
which estimates that lifetime giving will yield an additional $20.6 trillion for charity from 2007-­‐2061.

All figures come from the extensive findings published in A Golden Age of Philanthropy Still Beckons: National Wealth Transfer and Potential for Philanthropy, a just-­‐released landmark study by CWP researchers John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish which updates research they conducted on wealth transfer in 1999. The Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation of Fargo, N.D., commissioned this new study to inspire greater philanthropy and to elevate the importance of planning to help families and individuals direct more of their wealth to causes about which they are most passionate.

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