One in five people near retirement does not plan to leave an inheritance behind.
Many are already handing out cash gifts and loans to hard-pressed family members or are trying to pay off their own loans and mortgage debt, according to Aviva's Real Retirement report.
Meeting living costs and providing immediate financial support to family were seen as bigger priorities among the over-55s than building up an inheritance pot.
Some 21% of people aged between 55 and 64 said they do not expect to leave any inheritance, including property or money.
Clive Bolton, managing director of Aviva's At Retirement business, said that for some over-55s, the desire to leave an inheritance plays "second fiddle" to more urgent financial priorities.
More than one quarter (27%) of 55-to-64-year-olds were found to still have an outstanding mortgage, with £70,000 on average needing to be repaid.