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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can my RRSP be willed?

The answer to this question from a reader will depend on the facts. You may have noticed that pretty much every time you ask a lawyer a question, we ask for more facts!

The main thing to consider is the beneficiary who has been named on the RRSP itself. When you buy an RRSP, you are asked who is to receive the money when you die. You can leave it to your spouse, your kids, another individual, a charity or to your estate. Who you choose always depends on who is in your life and the various tax advantages of each choice.

If you have named a person or charity, when you pass away, the money is paid directly to that person. This means that your will doesn't touch it. If your will says that you leave your estate to certain people, it won't include the RRSP.

If the person you've named dies before you, that's a different story. If they are not alive to receive the RRSP money, it's paid into your estate instead. Once it's in your estate, it's covered by your will.

If you named your estate as the beneficiary, then when you pass away the RRSP money is paid to your estate. Again, once it's in your estate, it's covered by your will.

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