Who to Name
You can name more than one beneficiary – person(s), such as a child, or organization(s), such as a charity. If you choose to name multiple beneficiaries, any pre-retirement death benefit will be divided equally among your beneficiaries.
You shouldn't name your spouse
It's not necessary to name your spouse as your designated beneficiary because an eligible spouse will receive your survivor benefits. This automatic right to your pension is enshrined in provincial pension law. The only exception to this rule applies when a valid separation agreement or court order assigns part of your benefit to a former spouse.
By designating a beneficiary, you decide who should get your pension death benefits in case your spouse dies before you do.
Naming your children as beneficiaries
If you want your children to receive the biggest death benefit possible, you must name them as your designated beneficiaries. Although dependent children automatically receive a survivor pension for as long as they qualify for it, there is often a benefit, in addition to their pension, to pay out. This benefit can be substantial if your dependent children are older and will qualify for a pension for only a few years.
Children who aren't dependent on you will not receive any benefits unless they are named as your designated beneficiary.
If you have a disabled child, it's important that you designate your beneficiaries carefully as there are different options available to ensure your child is protected. For example, there are trusts specifically designed to protect the assets of adult disabled children. These trusts give the trustee(s) different degrees of control over how the funds are used to pay for your child's needs. Please consult an independent advisor to determine the best way to protect your disabled child's future.