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Changing societal attitudes, the longevity boom and increased globalization mean people are living longer and more varied lives - and today's families are more complex as a result.

According to U.S. Census data, the nuclear family—a label that 70 percent of Americans identified with in 1967—was relevant to only 50 percent of adults in 2016. These new, "modern" families were surveyed about the wealth transfer plans in a new global research report by RBC Wealth Management.

The survey included 3,105 respondents, with average investable wealth of $4.5 million, in the United States, Canada and the UK.RBC-Family-Wealth-Transfer-Infographic

Here are some of its key findings:

  1. Single-parent families are the most prepared for wealth transfer, with 38 percent saying they have a full wealth transfer plan in place
  2. Only 26 percent of nuclear families have a full wealth transfer plan in place
  3. Transparency is a guiding principle for single-parent families, with 49 percent saying they are comfortable sharing details with their children
  4. Only 40 percent of nuclear families are comfortable sharing details of their plans

Nancy is a middle-aged, high-net-worth individual who was interviewed for the survey. She is the only decision-maker in her family's financial affairs and takes active steps to preserve and grow her wealth for her children.

“I want to know that I will be leaving my children well provided for; that they will be able to further their education and have enough for a good start in their adult lives," she said, typifying the self-starter attitude that single-parent families seem to embrace.

Blended families, which have a greater need to plan given their complexity, are less likely to be prepared for generational wealth transfer.

Only 24 percent have a full wealth transfer plan, less than half have a will and 37 percent say they've done nothing to prepare.

To read the full survey report, click here.

The report is produced by RBC Wealth Management a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, and an affiliate of City National Bank (CNB). CNB is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. The report is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be either a specific offer by RBC Wealth Management or CNB to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any particular financial account, product or service of RBC Wealth Management or CNB. The information contained in the report is not intended, and should not be construed, as professional advice or opinion provided to the reader, nor as a recommendation of any particular approach. This document is not intended to be an invitation to effect a securities transaction or an offer or solicitation for investment advice. CNB, member FDIC.

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