Your Eligible Spouse
Your spouse is eligible for a survivor benefit if, at the time of your death, you:
- were married and not living separate and apart; or
- had been living together continuously for at least three years (or less if you are the parents of a child).
Your eligible spouse will have the choice of receiving the pre-retirement survivor benefit as a lump-sum payment or as a lifetime pension. They can transfer the lump-sum payment directly into an RRSP regardless of their available RRSP room.
Prior to your death, your eligible spouse can waive the right to the survivor benefit by signing a benefit waiver. The survivor benefit then falls to the next eligible recipient (dependent children and either beneficiary or estate).
A former spouse may be entitled to a portion of your pre-retirement death benefit if spelled out in a separation agreement or court order, providing the payment represents no more than 50% of your death benefit accrued during your marriage.