Nowadays, access to credit is becoming easier, which means that families will not only have to grieve, but also face questions about the solvency of the estate.

If you doubt the solvency of the estate in which you are involved, it is possible to give up this succession and, thus, not to be held responsible for the debts. It is important to know that by doing so, you will not be required to pay the deceased’s debts, but that you will no longer be able to claim your share of his or her inheritance. It’s like you’ve never been involved in the succession.

In order to renounce an estate, one or two visits to a notary are required. Indeed, a renunciation of a succession must obligatorily be noted by notarial act, and this, within a period of six months from the death.

Within the six-month period, people wishing to renounce an estate must not have made “gestures of acceptance” of the estate. Those who have taken steps to accept the succession will henceforth be considered as heirs and not as “successors,” who still have a choice to make in the succession.

Indeed, certain actions, such as the appointment of a liquidator, are actions reserved by law to the heirs of the estate. Asking these actions will make your relinquishment impossible.

Similarly, the deceased’s assets, whether cash or other assets, should not be used for personal gain. A deceased person’s money is used primarily to pay all his debts and the costs of liquidating the estate. However, the personal belongings of a deceased person, such as his clothes, his personal papers and diplomas and decorations of little value are not affected by this rule. Finally, the payment of debts of the deceased is also an act of acceptance of the estate. In fact, the payment of debts and expenses of the succession must be made by the liquidator or by the heirs, in certain cases. Thus, the payment of debts of the deceased or his estate will lead to an acceptance of it. There is only one exception to this rule. Indeed, the payment of funeral expenses from your personal money will not prevent you from renouncing the succession thereafter.

Before making any gesture for the succession, whether for the purpose of giving up or to liquidate, consult a notary who can better guide you according to the particularities of your situation.

Christiane Ratelle, notary