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What happens after you die in Québec?

  • Québec Last Will and Testament

    What happens after you die in Québec?

    • 7 Jan 2024
    • Posted By : Tim Hewson

    Maybe you've been appointed a Liquidator of an estate, or perhaps a love one has died. There is a lot to be done after a person has passed away and much of this includes dealing with the courts and Revenu Québec.

    Unfortunately, all of this work has to be done at an emotionally vulnerable time. And usually falls on the loved ones most affected by the passing of a family member.

    Fortunately the Provincial Government of Québec have one of the best, interactive tools for determining what needs to be done when a person dies depending on their family and financial situation. The tool is available here

    The Death needs to be Declared

    A declaration of death form must be completed whenever a person passes away. This is a form that goes together with an "attestation of death" form..

    The death must be confirmed and declared to the Directeur de l’état civil. A physician and a funeral director are both required to validate the process.

    First, the physician: draws up the "attestation of death" and then sends two copies of the attestation to the funeral director who takes charge of the body.

    The funeral director then gives a copy of the attestation of death to the person who declares the death to the Directeur de l’état civil (the declarant). The funeral director then helps the declarant to fill out the declaration of death.

    The funeral director completes and signs the section of the declaration concerning disposal of the body and then sends the attestation and declaration to the Directeur de l'état civil, along with the deceased person’s health insurance card.

    The Directeur de l’état civil then draws up the act of death and enters it into the Québec register of civil status. The Directeur then issues a death certificate.

    Finding the Last Will and Testament

    In all cases, and even if you have not found a will, you must submit a request for a will search with the Chambre des notaires.

    That mandatory step makes it possible to determine whether the will you have in hand is indeed the last one that was made, whether there is a more recent one or whether the deceased did not leave a will. A will search will show whether a will made before a notary was entered in the register of testamentary dispositions and mandates. You will need the original copy of the act of death or the death certificate issued by the Directeur de l'état civil. The Chambre des notaires issues a certificate that indicates, where applicable, the last will recorded in its registers, as well as the name and contact information of the notary who holds the will. If contact information for a notary appears on the certificate, the notary may be contacted to obtain a copy of the will.

    At the same time, a request for a will search must be made with the Barreau du Québec to see whether the deceased prepared a will with a lawyer.

    It is only once these two searches have been done that the most recent will can be identified.

    Notaries must register all of the wills they prepare in the Registres des dispositions testamentaires et des mandatsof the Chambre des notaires. They may also register a holograph will or a will made in the presence of witnesses if the testator wishes.

    A will that is not notarized must be probated following the testator's death.

    Probating a Will

    The notarial will is the only kind of will that does not require probating. The liquidator of the succession has an obligation to probate a holograph will or a will made before witnesses, even if the latter was prepared by a lawyer.

    A Will made using the Québec Legal Will Kit must be probated

    The probate can be made by the Superior Court or by a notary chosen by the liquidator. Probate serves the following functions:

    • Confirms that the person who wrote the will is deceased.
    • Confirms that the will is the last will of the deceased person and that it was written by the deceased person, or at that person’s request.
    • Confirms that the will satisfies the formal legal requirements;

    Once the will has been probated, the clerk of the Superior Court or the notary keeps the original and gives the liquidator a certified copy. The notary must also file a copy of the original will at the office of the clerk of the court in the judicial district in which the deceased person resided.

    The liquidator also has an obligation to notify all known successors (beneficiaries) of the probate proceeding by a notice of presentation, in order to give them the opportunity to intervene.

    Obtaining authorization to administer an estate

    The Liquidator must complete the form available at this link.

    Before issuing the certificate authorizing you to distribute the property, Revenu Québec provides written notification of the amount of duties, interest and penalties currently owed by the deceased person.

    If there is no Will

    Once the Liquidator has the authority to act as administrator of the estate, they have to follow the directions laid out in the Will. If there is no Will however, the estate is divided according to intestate laws of Québec.

    Intestate succession Québec

    What about debts?

    The deceased's estate is liable for debts, but the deceased's family is usually not. The exception to this is when debts are in joint names/cosigned, in which case the survivor party will be responsible for the debt.

    Any money or assets must be used to pay off the deceased's debts and funeral expenses before anything is given out to the beneficiaries.

    Administrative details

    One of the most significant tasks for the Liquidator is the transferring of ownership of property. This includes real estate, cars and other licensed property. In addition, government ID like Social security cards have to be cancelled.

    Collecting the assets

    The Liquidator will need to get in touch with banks, savings providers, mortgage providers, credit-card companies, and insurance companies to notify them of the death.

    In addition, they will need to get in touch with the "everyday things" that may not immediately come to mind, including utility companies; internet, phone, and TV companies; and even the deceased's employer.

    Death and Taxes

    When a person dies, the liquidator of the succession (refer to the definitions) must file the deceased’s income tax return for the year of death (refer to the definitions) and for any previous years for which the deceased has not filed. In certain cases, the liquidator has the option of filing more than one return for the year of death.

    Principal return

    In the principal return, the liquidator must report all income earned by the person up to the time of death, regardless of whether the amounts were received during his or her lifetime. This includes interest, rentals, royalties, annuities, salaries, wages and other forms of income that accumulate daily in equal amounts during the period in which they are payable.

    Separate returns

    In certain cases, the liquidator has the option of filing, in addition to the principal return, up to three other separate returns for the year of death. In this way, the income of the deceased person can be split, and the income tax payable in his or her name can be reduced or brought down to zero.

    Creditors and loans

    The Liquidator will be in charge of paying of the deceased's debts — including car loans — from the proceeds of the estate.

    But if the estate does not have enough money to pay off the debts — and provided the deceased was the only one who borrowed the loan — then the lender generally repossesses the vehicle and writes off the car loan as an uncollectible loss.

    When a person dies, that person's creditors have a claim against his or her estate. The executor pays all of the decedent's debts with his or her assets. If the decedent's assets are insufficient to pay his or her debts, then those debts die with the decedent so long as somebody is not jointly liable on them.

    Digital assets

    In some cases, a person agrees that no one else will be entitled to their online account — in which case the company will delete the account and its contents after death. But different companies have different rules.

    Gmail account:
    • The deceased decides what to do with the account prior to death.
    • A relevant party can submit a request regarding the deceased's account in order to close it, obtain data, resolve a potential hijacking, or simply notify Google that the user has died.
    iCloud account:
    • When you sign up to iCloud, you agree that your account is "non-transferable" and that any rights to your Apple ID/content in the account terminate after death. The account may be terminated and all the content within it deleted upon the receipt of a copy of the death certificate.
    Facebook/Instagram account:
    • The account can be "memorialized." It will say "remembering" next to the name, and no one will be able to log in to it.
    • A person can delete their account prior to death.
    Twitter account:
    • A person authorized to act on behalf of the estate or a verified immediate family member can work with Twitter to deactivate the account, and possibly delete certain images.

    Make sure that you write your Will

    One thing you can do to help your family and loved ones at this difficult time is to make sure that you have a Will in place. Your Will makes key appointments, like naming your Liquidator. But it also describes how you wish your property to be distributed.

    Without a Will, your family will be faced with a great deal of confusion and uncertainty. And the process for resolving your affairs will take much longer.


  • Mabelmacy January 8, 2024

    Brilliant post.

  • Y.Vaillancourt January 9, 2024

    very educational. Thanks