Complete Your Paperwork!
/ Author: Robert Brink
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Complete Your Paperwork!

Planning for the future? Don’t forget the little things—like filling out forms.

By Robert Brink

You’ve heard the saying, two things are certain: death and taxes. Here’s some advice about the first: completing (or updating) basic paperwork, including your benefits and retirement forms—today—can help your loved ones a lot when, down the road, your mortal path ends.

Nearly all collective agreements include contributions on your behalf to a retirement fund, most often the CLAC Pension Plan or CLAC Group RSP. The hope is that you will be able to use your accumulated amount during the autumn stage of your life.

But what if you don’t live long enough to put the funds to use? Don’t worry, they don’t disappear into the ether! They’re yours, after all.

Here’s what happens:

A.    If you have completed the beneficiary designation section of the applicable CLAC Pension Plan or CLAC Group RSP form, or a similar form from the plan you’re in, your retirement fund balance should go to your named beneficiaries, less possible applicable taxes (the second certainty!), quickly and smoothly. 

B.    If you have not completed such a form, or have not updated it to account for a new life situation (a divorce, a new spouse, or the death of a named beneficiary, for example), your funds should eventually make their way to the rightful heirs, but it will likely take a lot longer. Your loved ones may be left with unnecessary expenses and complications. Without a named beneficiary, your funds may need to wait until the completion of a long process called probate (basically a sorting out of all things estate-related) before they are distributed. If you don’t have your forms filled out and you don’t have a will, it can take even longer and induce even more paperwork and even more headaches.

Similarly, most union- or employer-administered benefits plans include life insurance. Life insurance amounts are usually paid out quickly and tidily when you’ve named a beneficiary on the forms. Without that, there can be delays, headaches, and challenges.

So, reason #1 for completing and updating your forms: to get the funds to your chosen heirs as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

Reason #2 is important too: to avoid funds going to the wrong person. Usually, one does not want an ex-spouse to benefit (financially) from one’s demise.

So, complete or update your forms! If you participate in the CLAC Pension Plan, CLAC Group RSP, or a CLAC benefits plan, you can access your forms online on Or talk to your steward or representative. 

If you participate in a non-CLAC retirement or benefits plan, talk to your steward or representative about how to access the forms for your plans. Ten minutes with a pen today can save your family months of headache in the future!

Achieve Your Financial Goals 

iAcquaint is an unbiased, comprehensive online financial planning tool that is available at no charge to you. Access iAcquaint through the My Health & Wellness section in 

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