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Wills in Québec

  • Québec Last Will and Testament

    Wills in Québec

    • 25 Jan 2023
    • Posted By : Tim Hewson

    Here are a few common reasons that people claim when justifying why there is no point in writing a Will:

    Myth - "I don't really care who gets my things. I'll be gone anyway."

    Without a Will, your property may not go to the people that you wish to benefit. In Québec, there is a law that decides how property should be distributed if a person dies “intestate” (without a Will).

    The actual administration of your succession will also be complicated and difficult. The courts will usually decide who will act as a personal representative or “Liquidator” (formerly called the “testamentary executor”), for distributing your possessions and the courts will determine who will get what. This may lead to acrimonious legal disputes between your survivors.

    Note that if you have no heirs, all of your assets, property and possessions can pass to your local government. The effort required to draft your Will is insignificant compared to the difficulties that dying without a Will presents to your survivors.

    Myth - "It's obvious who will get everything. It will go to my spouse."

    Québec intestate law will determine who will receive your possessions, which may or may not reflect your intentions. If you die without a Will and you are married, your assets will not automatically go to your surviving spouse. Québec succession law may determine that others, including children, may be entitled to a share. The table below shows how your succession would most likely be divided if you do not have a Will.

    Relationship with the deceased

    Myth - "I don't have a succession of any value."

    Even if you don't believe that you have a succession of any value, your death itself may generate a sizeable benefit. For example, your legatees (people receiving part of your legacy) may be entitled to the proceeds of a life insurance claim, a wrongful death suit, or a claim in the event of some negligence resulting in your death. These can be significant sums of money.

    Quite clearly, there is never a situation where a Will is unnecessary. You should draft a Will while you are still young and healthy, even if you don't feel that your assets are substantial. There is absolutely no benefit to waiting until you are older.

    Whatever your reason may be, you should know that it is extremely important that you have an up to date Will.

    To die without a Will is irresponsible and places a tremendous burden on your survivors. Do not put it off any longer.