Insurance, Investments and Group Benefits

Simple. Fast. Easy.TM

RRIF transfers to spouse using segregated funds

Investments, Personal Finance

Posted by Peter Wouters

Nov 26, 2020 1:30:00 PM

Directeur, Planification fiscale et successorale et planification de la retraite, Gestion de patrimoine
Placements Empire Vie

A mature couple walk through a woodland area smiling and laughing to one another while they walk their dalmatian dog. They are wrapped up warm on a cold Autumn day.

Tom and Sharon have been together for about 8 years. This is a second marriage for both of them. Tom is semi-retired; Sharon is a retired schoolteacher. The couple are both wary investors; they still feel the pain of the big market correction in 2008–09. They moved their investments to segregated funds for the insurance guarantees including the ability to reset the minimum guarantees based on the growth on their investments. These benefits offer them peace of mind. Tom had much of his savings in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and is now in the process of converting it into a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). He and Sharon are concerned about cancellation charges and setup fees. They want any benefits Tom gets to be passed on to Sharon. They both want the RRIF to be easy to manage on transition from Tom to Sharon in the event that he predeceases her.

What can they do?

Tom can base the payment stream of the RRIF using Sharon’s age. Tom would get more flexibility that way because the required minimum payment would be lower if Sharon is younger than Tom. Alternatively, he can appoint Sharon as successor annuitant of his RRIF directly with the insurance company at any time before he passes away. Should Tom predecease Sharon, she becomes the annuitant and contract owner. The contract will continue with no death benefit payable at that time. Any pending benefits like resetting minimum guarantees or maturity benefits will continue uninterrupted. The retirement income payments will continue to Sharon. Alternatively, Sharon may make changes to the investments or payment stream if she chooses. Unlike RRIFs invested in mutual funds, Tom cannot appoint Sharon as successor annuitant in his will if he wants the plan structure and benefits to transition to Sharon.

Please keep in mind, that if the underlying product is a guaranteed withdrawal benefit plan like Empire Life’s Class Plus 3.0, when the successor annuitant takes over the contract a reset of the death benefit (if the successor annuitant is less than 80 years old), the income base, and the guaranteed income takes place. The guaranteed income available from the contract could increase or decrease as a result of these resets.


© 2020 by Peter A Wouters. Republished with permission by Peter A Wouters. For the complete list of articles, please visit here


Related Articles:

RRSP beneficiary doesn’t automatically carry over to a RRIF

RRIFs part 1: RRIFs and successor annuitant benefits

A description of the key features of the individual variable insurance contract is contained in the Information Folder for the product being considered. Any amount that is allocated to a Segregated Fund is invested at the risk of the contract owner and may increase or decrease in value. Please read the information folder, contract and fund facts before investing. Performance histories are not indicative of future performance. Policies are issued by The Empire Life Insurance Company.

This blog reflects the views of the author as of the date stated. This information should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell nor should it be relied upon as investment, tax or legal advice. Empire Life and its affiliates does not warrant or make any representations regarding the use or the results of the information contained herein in terms of its correctness, accuracy, timeliness, reliability, or otherwise, and does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that results from its use. 

November 2020