Designating a Beneficiary
If you wish to designate one or more beneficiary, you can do so on the Naming or Substitution of Beneficiary Form by stating the beneficiary’s full name and relationship to you.
You can also designate a beneficiary by will or on a subsequent beneficiary designation form.
Forms must be completed, dated and signed. You must initial any changes or alterations to the designation, no matter how small; correction fluid cannot be accepted. The signed witness on the form cannot be any of the designated beneficiaries.
Forms must be sent to your Benefits Advisor in the NAV CANADA Human Resources office located at 77 Metcalfe (10th floor), Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5L6.
You may designate as his/her beneficiary:
- any person;
- any registered charitable or benevolent organization or institution (name and registration number of the institution are required);
- any religious or educational organization (name is required);
- his/her estate; or
- a trust (in Quebec, the trust must be formally established).
Revocable and Irrevocable Beneficiaries
A revocable beneficiary means that you are free to change the beneficiary designation at any time.
A beneficiary designation is assumed to be revocable, unless specifically designated as irrevocable. With exception in Quebec, the designation of a legal spouse (married or civil union) as beneficiary is irrevocable, unless specifically designated as revocable (this exception does not apply to a common law spouse).
An irrevocable beneficiary means you cannot change the designation without meeting specific requirements (see Changing a Beneficiary Designation below).
Changing a Beneficiary Designation
If the beneficiary designation is revocable:
If the beneficiary designation is irrevocable:
A new Naming or Substitution of Beneficiary Form must be completed, dated and signed by you and a witness. To change an irrevocable beneficiary or to change the current beneficiary designation from irrevocable to revocable, you must also submit one of the following documents, depending on the situation:
- 'Consent by Beneficiary Form', signed by the irrevocable beneficiary, revoking their rights; or
- divorce Certificate (in Quebec, a divorce granted after December 1st, 1982 automatically cancels the designation of the spouse as beneficiary, even if irrevocable); or
- proof of death of the irrevocable beneficiary.
More about beneficiary designations
Designating one beneficiary:
Appointing a contingent beneficiary:
A contingent beneficiary is the person designated to receive the proceeds if the primary beneficiary predeceases you. To appoint a contingent beneficiary, you must complete the Contingent Beneficiary section of the Naming or Substitution of Beneficiary Form.
Designating more than one beneficiary:
To designate more than one beneficiary, you must indicate on the Naming or Substitution of Beneficiary Form each beneficiarys' name, relationship to you and percentage allocated. The total of the designated percentages must equal 100%. If percentages are not indicated, an even split will be made between beneficiaries.
In the case of an even split between beneficiaries, the percentage allocated to the deceased beneficiary will be divided equally among the surviving beneficiaries. In the case of an uneven split, the deceased beneficiary’s portion of the death benefit will be paid to your estate or to the contingent beneficiary(ies), if designated. Remaining percentages will be paid as listed on the beneficiary forms. For example:
Designating a minor child as beneficiary in Quebec:
In Quebec, any amount payable to a minor beneficiary during his/her minority will be paid to the parent(s) or legal guardian on his/her behalf. If you wish to make provisions for an administrator or trustee to administer a minor child’s money, you can do so in a will and designate the trustee as beneficiary. It is recommended that you consult with legal counsel to determine the estate planning steps you should take.
Designating a minor child as a beneficiary in all other provinces:
In all provinces, other than Quebec, if the member designates a minor child as beneficiary, a trustee should be designated. If no trustee is named, proceeds may be paid into court.
Designating an estate:
If you are designating your estate as beneficiary, the following should be considered:
- Insurance proceeds payable to the estate are subject to claims from creditors, whereas proceeds payable to a named beneficiary may, in some cases, be protected from creditors.
- In some instances, a will must be probated and the costs will vary from province to province. These costs are not incurred if proceeds are payable to a named beneficiary. Probate is not required for a notarial will in the province of Quebec.
When no beneficiary has been designated:
Proceeds will be paid to the member’s estate. A properly constituted and current will should be submitted with any claim to avoid delays in processing with the executors or liquidators of the estate.