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Securing Your Legacy: The Crucial Importance of Naming Beneficiaries for RRSP, RRIF, and TFSA Accounts


Naming more than one beneficiary on products like RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans), TFSAs (Tax-Free Savings Accounts), or insurance products in Ontario or anywhere else can be important for several reasons:

Contingency: Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen events can occur. By naming multiple beneficiaries, you ensure that the assets are distributed as you wish in case one of the beneficiaries predeceases you. This helps avoid complications and legal disputes.

Avoiding Probate: In some cases, assets with named beneficiaries may not be subject to the Probate process. This can save time and money for your loved ones during an already difficult period.

Privacy: When assets pass through Probate, they become a matter of public record. By naming beneficiaries, you can keep the distribution of your assets private.

Control: Naming more than one beneficiary allows you to maintain some control over how your assets are distributed. You can specify what percentage each beneficiary should receive, ensuring your wishes are carried out as intended.

Flexibility: Naming multiple beneficiaries allows you to adapt to changing circumstances. You can easily update your beneficiary designations if your family situation changes, such as through births, deaths, or divorces.

Avoiding Disputes: Clearly naming beneficiaries reduces the likelihood of family disputes and potential legal battles over the assets. This can help preserve family harmony.

Charitable Giving: If you have a charitable intent, you can designate both individuals and charitable organizations as beneficiaries, ensuring that your assets benefit causes you care about.

Simplicity: Having multiple beneficiaries can simplify the distribution process. With clear instructions, the process can be straightforward and efficient.

Tax Efficiency: In some cases, naming multiple beneficiaries can offer tax advantages. Your financial advisor can help you structure your beneficiary designations to optimize tax efficiency based on your unique circumstances.

Protecting Vulnerable Beneficiaries: If one of your beneficiaries is a minor, has special needs, or is otherwise vulnerable, naming multiple beneficiaries can help ensure their interests are protected. For example, you can name a Trustee or Guardian to oversee their share of the assets.

While naming multiple beneficiaries can offer several advantages, it is essential to review and update your beneficiary designations regularly to ensure they align with your current wishes and circumstances. Consult with a financial advisor or legal professional to make informed decisions regarding beneficiary designations based on your specific financial and family situation.

Contact Peter for more information.


The Ontario Court of Appeal recently reinforced the priority of contractual RRSP/RRIF and TFSA Beneficiary designations over a “generic” revocation of previous “testamentary” designations. What does that mean? Well, whatever you contract with your RRSP/RRIF/TFSA manager will be the outcome of those investments despite what you might think about your Will. Be forewarned when you sign up at the Bank.


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Contact me at Peter@SmartWills.ca
By telephone 416-526-3121
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.