Q&A: B.C. locked-in plans


Question: I currently have a locked-in retirement account
(LIRA) and reside in British Columbia. What are the guidelines for withdrawal
of funds? – S.T.

Gordon Pape answers: B.C. has not progressed as quickly as
some of the other provinces (e.g. Saskatchewan) when it comes to allowing access
to money in locked-in retirement plans. The website of the British Columbia
Financial Institutions Commission lists only four situations under which early
withdrawals are allowed. They are:

Very small plans. For 2007, plans worth less than $8,740 qualify. Larger plans
may not be split to achieve this.

Age 65 and small entitlement. People who are 65 or older may apply to unlock
a plan if their total entitlement from all locked-in plans is less than 40%
of that year’s maximum pensionable earnings under the Canada Pension Plan.
For 2007, that number is $17,480.

Permanent departure from Canada. You must be away for at least two years.

Shortened life expectancy.

For more details go to http://www.fic.gov.bc.ca/responsibilities/pension/rsp-lif/except.htm

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