The Alberta Law Reform Institute has released recommendations to ensure testamentary wishes are respected upon death. It has become common to use beneficiary designations as a simple way to pass on assets. Beneficiary designations are made with:

  • Pension plans
  • Insurance policies
  • Retirement savings plans
  • Retirement income funds
  • Locked in retirement accounts
  • Tax free savings accounts

However, more of the population is aging and losing the capacity to decide who will receive the proceeds of these assets on the owner’s death. It is unclear if a substitute decision maker has the authority to manage beneficiary designations on behalf of the owner. Recommended legislative changes Final Report 104 proposes changes to the Power of Attorney Act, Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act and the Public Trustee Act that ensure the original intended beneficiary designation stands when benefit plans and policies are replaced or converted. The report also recommends changes in the Insurance Act and Wills and Succession Act to prevent the unintentional beneficiary designation of a former spouse or adult interdependent partner.