Millions of people may be mistakenly relying on an inheritance to finance their retirement, latest research suggests.

According to a survey produced by financial services specialist Hargreaves Lansdown, almost two-thirds of Britons believe an inheritance (especially property) will boost their pension pot.

The firm quizzed 2,000 adults and discovered that around one-fifth of respondents expected to receive a “substantial” inheritance, while 65 per cent of those aged between 18 and 54 said they hoped to use an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Personal finance analyst Sarah Coles said: “The average age to inherit is around 61, but 13,000 people lived beyond their 100th birthday in 2018. It means their offspring could be well beyond their 70th birthday by the time they inherit.”

Coles warned that potential beneficiaries might also have to alter their plans because a relative’s circumstances may change, for example if they meet a new partner, or if they decide to prioritise a charity whose work they value.

“If the inheritance has never been discussed, then you may be barking up the wrong tree. They may not have the assets you expect or they may not plan to leave anything to you.”

She also suggested people needed a “clear idea” of the possible returns when translating a lump sum into an income.

People’s retirement funding plans may also be affected by depressed markets and an anticipated fall in house prices caused by coronavirus. Last month Nationwide building society predicted that house prices might fall by as much as 14 per cent this year, although it added that the market should bounce back in the longer term.