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    I might be separating from my husband of 12 years. We have two children ages 10 and 12. During the course of our marriage, I have been saving some money in an RESP for my children's post-secondary education. If we end up separating, how do I protect my children's education fund? I am ready to give up everything except my children's fund.
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    A Registered Education Savings Plan is a type of savings account that grows tax free
    until a child is ready for post-secondary education. RESP's are a good way to save for a
    number of reasons: the money grows tax free until the child needs it for tuition, residence and
    other educational expenses and an RESP allows you to apply for the Canada Education
    Savings Grant on your child's behalf. Until recently you could contribute up to $4,000 per year
    in an RESP, but the Harper government very recently removed the limit in the last budget. If
    only you have signing authority, then you'll have no worries. The funds belong to the children.
    You are the "caretaker" of those funds, nothing more, nothing less. They are reserved for postsecondary purposes and can only be released to the educational financial institution for those
    purposes unless you child never foes to any post-secondary school. If that should happen, the
    contributor can, under certain circumstances, transfer the funds to their RRSP after 26 years of
    even withdraw the funds, minus the grants that had been received from the federal government.
    If your spouse has signing authority then the worst that he releases the funds that can happen is
    that he releases the funds for some educational institution with which you do not agree of if
    your children never use the funds for post-secondary purposes, your spouse could theoretically
    transfer the funds into his RRSP or even withdraw the funds under certain severe restrictions
    and deductions. The safest strategy is to ensure that you are the sole contributor to the RESP
    and that the financial institution clarifies that only you have the power to apply the funds to the
    educational institution concerned, and that if there will never be such a institution only you can
    apply to transfer the fund to your RRSP or withdraw the funds. Alternatively, many couples
    simply agree in their separation agreements to share responsibility for managing and applying
    RESP funds such that all decisions in respect of such savings could continue to be made. Why?
    Well, in many cases both parents contributed so the sharing of the RESP can continue.

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.





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