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About RBC > Media Newsroom > News Releases > Legacy in limbo? RBC Wealth Management research shows only 22 per cent of high net worth Canadians have an inheritance plan

Legacy in limbo? RBC Wealth Management research shows only 22 per cent of high net worth Canadians have an inheritance plan

Estimated windfall of over $400 billion CAD to change hands within a generation

  • Lack of confidence in wealth preservation: almost 60 per cent are not confident their children will both preserve and grow their wealth
  • Heavy burden on future generations: 54 per cent plan to pass on their wealth only upon death, yet majority do not have a full inheritance plan in place

TORONTO, January 31, 2017 - When it comes to giving and receiving wealth, most high net worth (HNW) Canadians are woefully unprepared to transfer their inheritance, with less than one-in-four having a full plan in place. Yet within a generation, an estimated $400 billion CAD is going to change hands.

According to new research by RBC Wealth Management, conducted in collaboration with Scorpio Partnership, not only do the majority of Canadians lack a detailed plan to pass on their assets, only one-third are actually prepared to receive a financial gift.

“Our research shows that inheritance typically begins at age 29, so Canadians need to act now to ensure their legacy lasts,” said Tony Maiorino, head of RBC Wealth Planning Services. “There’s no time like the present to adopt a ‘learn before you earn’ strategy so the next generation can be educated and prepared to stand on their own financial footing.”

The research – undertaken from June to August 2016 – reached out to 3,105 individuals of HNW individuals from Canada (1,054), the United Kingdom and the United States, who have an average net worth of $4.5 million US (in Canada, the average was $3.8 million CAD). These individuals included men and women, professionals, retirees and business owners, as well as givers and receivers of wealth.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Almost 60 per cent of Canadian parents don’t feel confident that their children will preserve or grow their inheritance, yet nearly 70 per cent listed their kids as top inheritors.
  • The earlier children are educated, the more confident they will be at making sound financial decisions. In fact, 66 per cent of those who began structured financial education before the age of 18 now rate themselves as confident.
  • Canadian children remain in the financial dark with only 37 per cent of their parents comfortable discussing all the details of their inheritance plans.
  • Over half (56 per cent) of Canadian inheritors had no guidance before receiving their financial windfall.

“When it comes to navigating succession planning, we know it’s an emotionally charged topic and families generally prefer to keep their financial dealings private,” concluded Leanne Kaufman, head of RBC Estate & Trust Services. “Speaking with a professional and opening your network can help ensure the nest egg Canadian families have built is protected across generations.”

In addition to the main report, RBC WM will be releasing four additional research papers throughout 2017, which will delve further into the challenges and opportunities women, small business owners, blended families and millennials face when it comes to inheritance. The full details of the report, and a survey which allows Canadians to compare their answers to the findings, is available on

About RBC Wealth Management
RBC Wealth Management is one of the world’s top five largest wealth managers*. RBC Wealth Management directly serves affluent, high net worth and ultra high net worth clients globally with a full suite of banking, investment, trust and other wealth management solutions, from our key operational hubs in Canada, the United States, the British Isles, and Asia. The business also provides asset management products and services directly and through RBC and third party distributors to institutional and individual clients, through its RBC Global Asset Management business (which includes BlueBay Asset Management). RBC Wealth Management has more than C$875 billion of assets under administration, C$580 billion of assets under management and 4,780 financial consultants, advisors, private bankers, and trust officers. For more information, please visit

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada's largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 36 other countries. For more information, please visit‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information please see:

*Scorpio Partnership Global Private Banking KPI Benchmark 2016.

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Media contact:
Jean François Thibault, 416-955-6435