Estate Law
Capacities & Persons Law

Estate Law

Estate Settlement

The liquidation of an estate is assigned to a liquidator (executor), who is responsible for managing the assets of the estate and ensuring their distribution according to the will of the deceased. This process takes place on several steps, do not hesitate to consult your notary, he can help you.

Are you the heir or the liquidator?

Step 1 : The notary and the will searches

Did you know that a Notary is able to confirm quickly and safely that the deceased did prepare a valid will ? You can submit an electronic request for a will search at your Notary’s office.

Your notary must do it!

Step 2 : Probate of a will

Many think having made a good deal by writing a holograph or in the presence of witnesses will. Did you know that in order to enforce the holograph or in the presence of witnesses will at the time of your death or of your loved ones, contrary to a notarised will, they are subject to verification (Probate)? The procedure consists of many steps that your notary may perform on your behalf. Your notary will take the time to ensure that the conditions are fulfilled and will ensure that the required documents are properly drafted.

For more information, consult the Chambre des notaires du Québec web site :

Are you fully aware of the deceased’s financial situation?

Step 3 : The notary and the estate inventory

This mandatory step for all liquidators, in accordance with the Civil Code of Quebec (article 794), enables all potential heirs to make an informed decision on whether or not to accept a succession. Don’t forget that successions are composed of both ASSETS and LIABILITIES! Should you really be forced to inherit the deceased’s debts? The estate inventory can be drafted by a notary or it can be done in front of witnesses.

Exercise caution before accepting your inheritance. Let us help you!

Step 4 : Accepting or refusing the succession

If you accept a succession, the liquidator will be in a position to distribute your inheritance upon completion of all duties conferred to him by the administrator’s role. The liquidator must also obtain all governmental authorizations needed prior to distributing the inheritance. If you feel that it would be in your best interest to refuse a succession given the deceased’s bad financial health, you must consult a Notary. A Notary will be able to help you refuse the succession and eliminate this burden. Be very cautious not to take measures that could compromise your option to refuse! The simple act of paying a deceased’s bill could waiver this option.

Receive your inheritance!

Step 5 : Declaration of transmission

So far, you have managed to carry out a number of steps in the settlement of the estate yet there still remains the matter of transferring the property to the heirs! If the deceased owned a property (i.e.: a residence, a cottage or an income property), you are required to consult a Notary.

Liquidators, obtain your discharge! Be released by the heirs!

Step 6 : Rendering of account

This step is too often overlooked by liquidators, yet the rendering of accounts means they are discharged from their administrative duties. Furthermore, this step serves to properly document that the heirs have received the inheritance. Having large sums of money in your bank account may raise questions with tax authorities. To eliminate any suspicion, have your rendering of accounts notarized.

How your notary can help you

You have been assigned as the liquidator (executor of succession)? What does this imply? The liquidator is subject to several rules and steps to follow. His mission is to fulfill the wishes of the deceased. The notary is your legal advisor throughout this process.

The role of the notary in the absence of a will

In the absence of a will, the law (Civil Code of Québec) will determine those who will be able to inherit the assets of the deceased. The law includes married or united spouses and persons related to the deceased by blood or adoption (ascendants and descendants). It should be noted that common-law spouse and in-laws are not considered as heirs. In the absence of a will, the liquidator will be selected by the heirs. The role of the notary is therefore to accompany the liquidator chosen by the heirs through the different stages of the succession. The notary also ensures that all documents and requirements are respected.

The role of the notary in the existence of a will

The notary is the person to accompany you in the liquidation of the estate. His job is to ensure that all legal requirements are met and to guide the liquidator (estate executor) in his task so that the different stages of the estate process are respected. Thus, by using the services of a notary, you avoid extra stress and ensure the respect of the deceased wishes.