Good To Know – Financial Life Planning Tips from Betty-Anne Howard, Athena Wealth and Legacy Planning


Today let’s talk about beneficiary designations on registered money – your RRSP’s/RRIF’s and Locked In RRSP’s/LIF’s. 

Beneficiary designations are an easy way to redirect money to your favorite charities, achieve your legacy goals, and not make the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the unintended beneficiary of a portion of your estate!

How you do this depends on your situation.

If you want your spouse to be the beneficiary of your registered money, it’s important to ensure their future is secured by leaving your registered money to them, so it passes over tax-free to your survivor, and this includes common law spouses as well.

If you don’t have a surviving spouse then you can consider naming your favorite charities the beneficiaries of this account, or even a portion of it as, generally speaking, whatever amount you redirect to charity is the amount that will receive a charitable tax credit which will significantly reduce your income tax bill, at your death.  

If you do have a spouse, then it’s good to consider naming the charity the contingent beneficiary of your registered money. This way, if something happens to you and your spouse, then the money can go directly to charity. 

Or, if your spouse predeceases you and you forget to change the beneficiary designations, (and this too can happen, we’ve seen it!), then you already have the redirecting of these assets to achieve your legacy goals rather than having your Executor hand a significant amount of this money over to the CRA.

Give your beneficiary designations a great deal of thought and make sure you set plans in place for this very important estate planning strategy. 

Till next time

Betty-Anne Howard / Athena Wealth and Legacy Solutions

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