Can I make my RRSP beneficiary designation in my will?

Great care should be taken to ensure that your estate plan is compatible with the registration of all of your assets and account structures. This is particularly important when designating a beneficiary for your RRSP assets. You can make the designation of a beneficiary either through your will or by completing the Designated Beneficiary section of the RRSP account documentation.

If you are designating your RRSP beneficiaries through your will, you should ensure that the RRSP account documents designate your estate as the beneficiary to ensure there is no confusion about your intentions.

If you designate your RRSP beneficiaries in your will, but your RRSP account documentation appoints different beneficiaries, the designation made in your will takes priority provided that the designation made in your will is dated after the designation made in the account’s documentation.

If you designate your beneficiaries through your will, you should notify the financial institution that administers your registered account to ensure that your registered account assets are transferred to your estate and not the beneficiaries designated in the account’s documentation.

In addition, you should be aware the RRSP beneficiary designations contained in your will may fail if your will is subsequently revoked for any reason (such as marriage, divorce, or subsequent will).

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