Unlike a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) that can be classified into three categories (Individual, Spousal, and Group), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) are simply administered as Individual plans. (There is only one exception, however, in the case where the assets from a Spousal RRSP are converted to an RRIF. In this case there are a few considerations to think about. - See the sections RRIF Withdrawals and RRIF Transfers for more details.) Otherwise, an RRIF account is administered simply as an Individual plan.
Each RRIF account is still a form of trust and as a result it has a trust document that governs the trust, a trustee that administers the trust, a contributor that deposits property to the trust, and a beneficiary (the annuitant), who is entitled to withdraw the property of the trust. As with RRSPs, the RRIF trust document is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) by the financial institution with whom you choose to open the RRIF; the same financial institution will contract a trust company to act as the Registered Plan’s Trustee; the person that deposits funds into the originating RRSP account is the contributor, and the beneficiary of the RRIF account is the person able to withdraw funds from the account (the annuitant).
Note: Regardless of the originating RRSP type, all RRIF plans are governed by the guidelines established by the CRA. All plans must follow the same rules governing the account’s administration, withdrawals from the account, and investment options available.