Most Canadians accumulate RRSPs (Registered Retirement Savings Plans) and/or RRIFs (Registered Retirement Income Funds) over their lifetime. However, they are among the most highly taxed assets if they are added to your estate. After death, all RRSP/RRIF accounts are treated as if you cashed them in all at once and their values are added to your taxable income in the year of death. As a result, it is likely that close to 50% of the value of your RRSPs/RRIFs will be lost to taxes.

Since Canadians are allowed to donate 100% of their income in the year of death, gifting RRSPs/RRIFs to charity is a unique opportunity to preserve the capital in these plans. One-hundred percent of the value of RRSPs/RRIFs will go to charity because you are making a charitable contribution of the plan(s). Also, by naming the charity as the beneficiary directly on your plan(s), the donation will occur outside of your estate, thus avoiding probate fees. Your estate receives a 100% tax credit that can be claimed entirely in the year of death.


  • Retain the use of the asset(s) for your lifetime and the lifetime of your spouse (if applicable).
  • Significant tax benefits: completely offset the tax burden caused by the disposition of these registered accounts.
  • Charitable income tax receipt will be issued to your estate for 100% of the value of the donated RRSPs/RRIFs.
  • Gifts of RRSPs/RRIFs are not included in the value of your estate and therefore are not subject to probate fees.
  • Can be changed at any time.


The legacy giving information on this website is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal or financial advice. It is meant to help facilitate discussions between you and your advisors. We strongly recommend that you discuss your intentions with your family and consult with your lawyer and/or financial advisor before proceeding with a legacy gift.