Q&A: Death sentence was wrong!

Question: I have a bit of a problem with my wife’s LRIF
(life retirement income fund). We had about $200,000 to invest and my wife retired
(I am still working). We chose an LRIF because I received word from a specialist
that I had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and would need oxygen
and then a ventilator. I thought I was dying so we took the LRIF so that my wife
would have a steady income. As it turns out, I am not dying and now we could use
this money to finance a few months in Florida every year as it would be good for
my condition. What I would like to do is cancel the LRIF because the decision
to get it was done under false information. Is there anything I can do? Thanks
for you help. – P.J.

Gordon Pape answers: A LRIF is a locked-in account, similar
in nature to a LIF (life income fund). The money for it presumably came either
from a locked-in RRSP that your wife owned or as a result of money she had transferred
from a pension plan. You could probably switch the LRIF into a LIF, but you
can’t simply “cancel” it and take all the cash.

However, some provinces now permit partial or complete unlocking of these plans
if the money is needed for medical purposes. Your first step is to find out
which government has jurisdiction over the LRIF and then determine if your wife
can apply for medical relief on the grounds of her husband’s illness.
It may be difficult to make the case that you need the money to go to Florida
but if your doctor is willing to back you up, I suppose there is a chance for

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