InfoCapsule: Family plan vs. individual plan

Disclaimer: RESP promoters

The information contained on this page is technical in nature and is intended for Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and Canada Education Savings Program promoters. For general information, visit the RESP section.

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7. Family plan vs. individual plan

Choosing between a family plan and an individual plan will depend, among other things, on the beneficiary's relationship to the subscriber.

About beneficiaries

In a family plan:

  • there may be 1 or multiple beneficiaries
  • all beneficiaries must be related to the subscriber by blood or adoption
  • the Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (Additional CESG) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) amounts can only be paid if all beneficiaries of the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) are siblings
  • beneficiaries must be under the age of 21 when named to the RESP OR already be a beneficiary under another family RESP immediately before being added to a family RESP
  • sharing for educational assistance payments (EAP):
    • all beneficiaries named in an RESP can share the CESG (up to $7,200 each), the provincial education savings incentives administered by ESDC and the RESP earnings in an EAP if they satisfy EAP eligibility criteria
  • if the beneficiaries are not all siblings:
    • only the Basic CESG can be paid into the RESP

In an individual plan:

  • only 1 beneficiary can be named to the RESP
  • there is no age limit as to when a beneficiary can be named to the RESP
  • there is no blood or adoption relationship required between the beneficiary and the subscriber

Note: Some education savings incentives may have to be repaid if conditions for adding or replacing a beneficiary are not met.

About contributions

In a family plan:

  • they must be made in the name of a specific beneficiary
  • they can be made up until the day before this beneficiary turns 31 years of age
  • the lifetime limit is $50,000 per beneficiary, across all plans
  • they have to stop 31 years after the year the plan was established

In an individual plan:

  • they are not limited by the age of the beneficiary
  • the lifetime limit is $50,000 per beneficiary, across all plans
  • they have to stop 31 years after the year the plan was established
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