Older adults, bequests, and wills
Using data from Aging and Health Dynamics (AHEAD), this research investigated the effects of demographic, economic, health, sense of control, and depleting savings factors on an older adult's assessment regarding the chances (from 0 to 100) of leaving a financial bequest and the likelihood of having a written will. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed there were six determinants of an older adult's financial bequest assessment: age, race, socioeconomic status, physical health problems, sense of control, and assessment regarding the chances of medical expenses depleting savings. Whites had higher financial bequest assessments than non-Whites. Race also had indirect effects on an older adult's assessment regarding the chances of leaving a financial bequest assessment through sense of control. Physical health problems and an older adult's assessment regarding the chances of medical expenses depleting savings in five years exerted negative effects on an older adult's assessment regarding the chances of leaving a financial bequest;Marital status and negative psychological functioning exerted indirect effects on leaving a financial bequest through sense of control and through the depleting savings assessment. Gender and wealth had significant total effects on the financial bequest assessment;Logistic regression analyses of the conceptual model revealed that there were four significant indicators of an older adult having a will: race, education, wealth, and assessment regarding the chances of leaving a financial bequest. The odds of having a will were about six times as large for Whites as they were for non-Whites.