There are multiple steps involved in settling an Estate.
The importance of consulting a professional
Each Estate has its own particularities. It is therefore recommended to consult a notary of your choice or a lawyer who is qualified in the matters of Estate settlement. This professional will be able to guide you through the process and draft the various legal documents required.
To find out if the deceased left a will, start by searching through his or her personal papers. Also, verify if the deceased had a safety deposit box in a financial institution where he or she may have kept his or her will.
Applications for will search certificates
Regardless of whether you are convinced that the deceased did not make a will or are certain that you are in possession of the deceased’s most recent will, you will still need to have a will search conducted at the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the Barreau du Québec in order to obtain the required search certificates.
These two certificates will confirm the existence of a last will made before a notary or drafted by a lawyer.
You can undertake these searches yourself. However, if you wish to receive the results more quickly, the notary or lawyer of your choice may carry out the searches for you.
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The role of the liquidator
The liquidator is the person whose mandate is to liquidate the Estate.
If the deceased had made a will before a notary, a liquidator is usually appointed in the will. If no liquidator has been appointed in a will, the heirs will need to appoint one or liquidate the Estate together.
Steps involved in the liquidation of a succession
Each Estate is unique and will be liquidated differently, according to the deceased’s patrimony and family relationships.
The following steps are usually involved in the liquidation of a succession Estate:
- Obtain the will search certificates and a copy of the deceased’s last will, if applicable;
- Issue the various notices of death (to government authorities, service providers, etc.);
- Draft an Estate inventory;
- Retrieve the deceased’s assets;
- Pay off the deceased’s liabilities as well as those born from their Estate;
- Close the deceased’s utility accounts and terminate his memberships (telephone, electricity, etc.);
- Prepare the income tax returns and obtain the clearance certificates from tax authorities;
- Distribute the net assets of the succession;
- Present a final rendering of account and have it approved by the heirs.