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Segregated funds, know colloquially as "seg funds," are a type of pooled investment similar to mutual funds. However, seg funds differ from mutual funds by being issued by an insurance company and having an insurance element, which guarantees the return of principal on death or maturity. While on the surface seg funds appear almost identical to mutual funds, the taxation issues pertaining to them are noticeably different.

What Is a Seg Fund?

Seg funds are not in themselves legal entities; however, the Income Tax Act deems them to be trusts for tax purposes. Each seg fund trust holds units of a corresponding mutual fund trust. In essence, this means that the seg fund is a unit holder of the mutual fund. So, for example, the Trimark Select Growth Seg Fund invests exclusively in units of the corresponding mutual fund, the Trimark Select Growth Fund. The individual investor, however, is not a unitholder of the mutual fund; rather, the investor is referred to as a contractholder of a seg fund contract.

Seg funds, most often backed by the Insurance Company, give you much more protection. Some of our Funds will give you a 100 per cent guarantee that you will not lose your original investment.


Canada has no official death, estate or inheritance taxes. So, without proper planning, on death and estate may be faced with large and unexpected tax liabilities.

The General Rule

Though special rules apply to RRSPs and RRIFs, a tax-payer is generally deemed to have disposed of all his or her capital property (including stocks, bonds, mutual fund units, real estate, farms etc.) Immediately before death at fair market value. When the proceeds of disposition exceed the property's adjusted cost base (ACB), the result is a capital gain. Three-quarters (75 per cent) of the capital gain is taxable to the deceased and must be reported in the deceased's final tax return-the terminal return. On that return, a capital gains deduction may be claimed against any capital gains arising from qualifying property, such as shares of a small business corporation or farm property.

Spouse as Beneficiary

The most common exception to the deemed disposition rules occurs when the capital property is transferred to a deceased taxpayer's spouse or testamentary spousal trust (spouse trust). A spouse trust is a trust that is created by a taxpayer's will. It must meet specific criteria, but generally entitles the spouse to receive all of the income of the trust during his or her lifetime. When property is transferred to a spouse or spouse trust, the transfer may be done without triggering any immediate capital gains and the associated tax liability.

Example : Susan and Bruce

Susan and Bruce are husband and wife. Bruce holds a non-registered investment in say, Trimark Fund, with an original cost of $150,000. At Bruces death on January 15, 1998, the fair market value of his holdings had grown to $250,000. That represents an accrued capital gain of $100,000.

If Bruce left his investment in the Fund to Susan (perhaps by naming her as the beneficiary of this property in his will), the investment can simply be transferred into Susan's name. Susan will be deemed to have acquired the property at the same ACB of $150,000, thereby deferring tax on the $100,000 accrued capital gain.

If Susan wasn't the beneficiary of Bruce's mutual fund investment, Bruce will be deemed to have disposed of his units for proceeds equal to the fair market value of $250,000. That would result in a capital gain of $100,000 -75 per cent of it taxable. Depending on Bruce's marginal tax rate in the year of death, the estate may be liable for taxes up to $40,000.

Our suggestion is that you name specific beneficiaries on all RRSP's, GIC's and Segregated Funds to keep them out of your estate.

We are not tax experts at JD Smith Insurance Brokers. The above are only things to consider and to think about. It would be wise to contact your lawyer and accountant for information.

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