How much will you inherit?
A record $45 trillion is being handed down - but not everyone gets a share.
By Eugenia Levenson, FORTUNE

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - Coming into money has never gone out of fashion. Just page through the novels of Austen or Dickens or Wharton to see how inheritance shaped social destiny.

Fast-forward to 2006, and inheritance is as heated a topic as ever. (Witness the Murdoch family or Anna Nicole Smith.)

The largest intergenerational transfer of wealth ever is now underway, measuring $45 trillion (the low estimate from the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College).

And many boomers are wondering if a windfall from their parents - the generation whose Depression-inspired frugality collided so spectacularly with post-World War II economic opportunity - lies ahead.

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