Charitable, Religious, and Family Estate Planning Attitudes Among African-Americans

Posted: 14 Sep 2017 Last revised: 26 Mar 2018

See all articles by Jennifer Lehman

Jennifer Lehman

George Fox University

Russell N. James

Texas Tech University

Date Written: September 12, 2017


This study explores both whether lifetime religious giving tendencies extend to religious estate giving attitudes and whether underlying charitable estate giving attitudes, rather than documentation, may serve as the key barrier to charitable estate planning. Data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics indicates that, as compared with others, African-Americans attribute significantly higher importance to religious bequest gifts in absolute terms, relative to importance of family bequest gifts, and relative to importance of other charitable bequest gifts. African-Americans also attribute greater importance to charitable bequests in absolute terms, but a lower importance to such gifts when measured relative to the importance of leaving a bequest gift to family. These results suggest that the preference for lifetime religious giving extends to estate giving attitudes. Further, the results indicate that lack of underlying charitable intent (especially for religious giving) does not explain the relative lack of charitable estate planning, leaving open the possibility that documentation may be the key barrier.

Keywords: estate, end of life, charitable planning, diversity, religious

JEL Classification: D1, D10, D11, D12

Suggested Citation

Lehman, Jennifer and James, Russell N., Charitable, Religious, and Family Estate Planning Attitudes Among African-Americans (September 12, 2017). 2018 Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines, Available at SSRN:

Jennifer Lehman (Contact Author)

George Fox University ( email )

414 N. Meridian Street
Newberg, OR 97132
United States

Russell N. James

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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