A RRIF account is simply a continuation of your RRSP, but with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requirement that you must begin to receive a regular annual income from the RRIF account.
In transferring your RRSP into an RRIF, your current RRSP investments remain the same and they are simply transferred in kind into your new RRIF account.
The financial institution that will administer your RRIF account will ask you to complete a new set of RRIF account forms and they will have you sign a transfer form authorizing the RRSP investments and cash balance be transferred from your existing RRSP into the new RRIF.
The CRA requires that your maturing RRSP be converted into a new RRIF account by December 31st of the year you turn 71 years of age, but you are not required to receive your first RRIF payment until December 31st of the following year. You can certainly withdraw RRIF savings at any time during the following year. For more detailed information on withdrawing from your RRIF see our section RRIF accounts.
If you decide to transfer a portion or all of your RRSP savings into a RRIF account prior to the year you reach 71 years of age, you can transfer at any time the RRIF assets and cash back into an RRSP account. For example, if you need to use your RRSP savings to supplement your retirement income, but then receive an inheritance and you no longer need to use your retirement savings, then you could convert your RRIF back into an RRSP. This would defer your receiving taxable RRIF payments until a later date, maybe your RRSP’s normal maturity date.