gov.ns.ca - Nova Scotia Canada - Government of Nova Scotia

Locked-in Retirement Accounts (LIRA)

A locked-in retirement account is an RRSP which meets the requirements under the Pension Benefits Act for a locked-in retirement account (LIRA). The locked-in retirement account is subject to the Income Tax Act rules for locked-in RRSPs, and to the Pension Benefits Act rules for locked-in retirement accounts.

Locked-in pension funds transferred to a locked-in retirement account under the Pension Benefits Act must be used to provide lifetime retirement income.

To receive income from locked-in retirement account funds, the funds must be transferred to a life insurance company for the purchase of a life annuity, transferred to a pension plan, or used to purchase a life income fund. The earliest age income can be paid from locked-in funds is the earliest age the person was entitled to retire under the pension plan from which the funds were transferred or age 55, whichever comes first.

The locked-in retirement account must be transferred to a life income fund or used to purchase a life annuity before the end of the year in which you reach age 71.

Locked-in retirement accounts keep money safe for your retirement. It is exempt from seizure by creditors and can't be used as collateral for a loan. It cannot be assigned to another person, except if spouses or common-law partners separate and the funds are divided.

If the locked-in funds are divided between you and your spouse or common-law partner when your relationship breaks down, the amount transferred to your spouse or common-law partner continues to be locked-in. Your spouse or common-law partner can commence receiving income at age 55 or at the early retirement date under the pension plan from which the funds were transferred. Refer to the Guide to Understanding the Division of Pensions and Pension Benefits for Separating Spouses and Common-Law Partners for further information.

If you die, the value of your locked-in retirement account must be paid to your spouse or common-law partner. If you do not have a spouse or common-law partner when you die, the value of the fund is paid to your beneficiary or estate.

Locked-in funds can only be unlocked for two reasons. You may have access to the money if you have a considerably shortened life expectancy. You may also withdraw money at age 65 if the amount of total assets at that age is small. Refer to locking-in for further information.



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Mailing Address:
Finance and Treasury Board
Pension Regulation Division
PO Box 2531
Halifax, NS  B3J 3N5

Phone: 902-424-8915, weekdays 8:30 - 4:30.
Fax: 902-424-5327
Email: 
novascotia.ca

Courier:
Finance and Treasury Board
Pension Regulation Division
1723 Hollis St, 4th Floor
Halifax, NS  B3J 1V9




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