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Published: March 20, 2020

Last Updated: January 17, 2022

In the case of Perring the Ontario Court of Appeal held that RRSPs do not form part of the estate of a deceased but instead devolve directly to the designated beneficiary and that a creditor has no recourse to repayment from the RRSP proceeds in the designated beneficiary’s hands when the estate cannot pay its debts. There has been a divergence of judicial opinion on the issue between Ontario and other provinces. RRSPs in Ontario are now treated in the same way as the proceeds of a life insurance policy, that is to say they both devolve directly to the designated beneficiary, not via the estate, and are thereby beyond the reach of creditors.


"This article provides information of a general nature only. It is only current at the posting date. It is not updated and it may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor can it or should it be relied upon. All tax situations are specific to their facts and will differ from the situations in the articles. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer."


A Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) would become part of the estate if the deceased did not designate a beneficiary in the will, or the estate is directly the beneficiary. When added to the estate, the RRSP becomes the deceased’s income. The estate will pay the necessary taxes when an RRSP becomes part of the estate, the estate’s value increases, and so are the probate and administration fees. A qualified beneficiary of the estate can make tax-deferred RRSP assets transfer to their RRIF, RRSP, RDSP, or Annuity.

You can transfer your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to your son if he is still a minor or under 18 years of age, even if the owner of the RRSP still has a surviving spouse. For the transfer to be valid, the designated sole beneficiary in your RRSP or will should be your child. The child should tell the RRSP issuer to transfer the RRSP into a term certain to age 18 annuity in his name through a legal representative.

To withdraw your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), you need to be 71 years old. Any person is not allowed to own an RRSP beyond December 31 of the year he turns 71. You can either withdraw the fund or convert it into a Registered Retirement Income Fund or RRIF. If you withdraw your RRSP, it becomes included in your income and is subject to income tax. You can also transfer the amount from one financial institution to another but must remain in an RRSP.

Yes, RRSPs are worth it in the long run because it benefits Canadians with high incomes. However, it is not suitable for doctors or incorporated business owners.

No, you cannot lose money if you don’t borrow to invest in RRSP. Additionally, you will never be indebted to your account. However, if you have a negative investment return, you’ll lose some money in the long run.

You can withdraw from your RRSP anytime you want. However, you have to ensure that your funds are not in a locked-in plan. Remember that the withdrawal is subject to withholding tax, and the amount must be included as income when the time comes that you have to file for taxes.

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