Authorized transfer instruments

Important Notice

Please consult Newsletter number 32, Amendments to the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans effective 4 January 2018, as well as division V – Transfer of benefits between spouses This link will open in a new window. of the Regulation respecting supplemental pension plans, to find out the rules for partition applicable to spouses in a civil union, the changes to the payment methods applicable to the former spouse, and the calculation of member benefits after partition.

Though there are exceptions, the plan administrator must carry out partition by transferring the amount to which the former spouse is entitled into an authorized transfer instrument.

The former spouse must choose the transfer instrument and financial institution to which amounts will be transferred.

Locked-in retirement accounts (LIRAs)

Former spouses usually choose this type of account when they do not want to draw an income immediately.

LIRAs are a type of registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) from which funds cannot generally be withdrawn.

To access the capital, amounts from an LIRA must either be transferred to a life income fund (LIF) or used to purchase a life annuity from an insurance company.

LIRAs are offered by most financial institutions that offer RRSPs. See the list of the financial institutions.

Life income funds (LIFs)

Former spouses often choose this option when they want to draw an income immediately.

An LIF is a registered retirement income fund (RRIF) from which one can make withdrawals at any time. There is a maximum amount that can be withdrawn annually in order for the fund to be able to provide an income until the holder's death. However, in certain cases, particularly when the holder has a low income, the fund can be liquidated more rapidly.

LIFs are offered by most financial institutions that offer RRIFs. See the list of the financial institutions.

Life annuity contract

Former spouses regularly choose such a contract when they want to draw an income immediately and have greater financial security and stability.

The contract is a life annuity, that is, an income will be paid until the holder's death, and can be purchased from an insurance company. The annuity can either be payable as soon as it is purchased or at a later date decided in advance.

Pension plan

A plan member's former spouse can transfer his or her money into his or her own pension plan or leave it in the member's plan, but in an account under his or her own name, if the plan in question allows it.

In that case, each plan's own conditions will determine the amount of the pension to which the former spouse will be entitled and when it will be payable.

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