Renouncing a Succession

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If you are a successor and you intend to renounce a succession, you should take certain steps before you do. In order to make an informed choice, you should:

  • check whether the deceased left a will since it may list the liquidator and the heirs;
  • identify and contact the successors;
  • consult the inventory prepared by the liquidator;
  • take into account certain key information. 
What you should know before renouncing a succession

Certain actions can constitute acceptance of the succession, even if a successor has not given formal consent. Successors tacitly accept the succession when their actions suggest it is their intention to do so, for example:

  • using property of the succession as though it were personal property; 
  • withdrawing money from the deceased's bank account for personal use; 
  • exempting the liquidator from making an inventory of the deceased's property; 
  • not renouncing the succession within the prescribed time limits; 
  • liquidating the succession without following the rules in the Civil Code of Québec

However, certain actions agreed upon by all of the successors in order to conserve, supervise or provisionally administer the property are not considered to constitute acceptance of the succession. Such actions include:

  • renewing a fire insurance policy;
  • paying funeral expenses;
  • temporarily managing a business;
  • selling perishable goods, donating them to charity or sharing them among the successors; 
  • distributing the deceased's clothing, personal papers, medals, diplomas and family souvenirs;
  • selling property that is costly to keep or likely to depreciate quickly; 
  • transporting the furniture of the succession to an heir's place of residence to avoid storage fees; 
  • paying municipal taxes;
  • accepting the proceeds of a life insurance policy payable to a designated beneficiary;
  • cashing the death benefit payable by Retraite Québec; 
  • collecting a surviving spouse's pension or orphan's pension administered by Retraite Québec;
  • performing an act rendered necessary by exceptional circumstances that is in the interest of the succession.

Successors have six months from the date on which their right to inherit arose (generally the date of death) to accept or renounce the succession. However, this deadline can be extended to 60 days following closure of the inventory, if it is not completed by the end of the six-month period. If a person knows that he or she is a successor but does not renounce the succession within the prescribed period, the person will be deemed to have accepted it.

In the case of an insolvent succession, the successors who choose to accept the succession are not required to pay the debts of the deceased that exceed the value of the property they receive, provided the formalities set out in the Civil Code of Québec are followed.

Caution

Persons who have renounced the succession become strangers to the succession and can be sued for any action they undertake after the renunciation. Furthermore, persons who have renounced the succession can no longer have access to the succession's information.

How to renounce a succession

A successor who wishes to renounce a succession must follow the steps below. If the successor is a minor, he or she must be assisted by a tutor.

  1. Ask the notary to prepare the renunciation through a notarial act en minute.

    The succession can be renounced through a notarial act en minute or a judicial declaration made before the prescribed deadline and published in the register of personal and movable real rights.

  2. Complete form BD-82.1-V, Request to Open a File for an Unclaimed Succession, and enclose the following documents with it:

    • a copy of a proof of death (death certificate or act of death) provided by the Directeur de l'état civil;
    • a copy of the last will of the deceased, if applicable;
    • a certified copy of the act of renunciation of the succession:
      • if there is a will, all successors listed in it must renounce the succession,
      • if there is no will, the succession must be renounced by the person who was married to or was living in a civil union with the deceased and by the persons related to the deceased by blood or adoption, meaning the spouse and children (if there are no children, the mother, father, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, by representation, must renounce the succession);
    • the designated liquidator's renunciation, if applicable.

    Moreover, to help us quickly and efficiently liquidate the unclaimed succession, you can send us the following if you have them:

    • a copy of the registration of the acts of renunciation in the register of personal and movable real rights;
    • the will search certificate from the Chambre des notaires du Québec;
    • the will search certificate from the Barreau du Québec;
    • the inventory of property and the list of debts of the deceased (photos of the property can be included with the request);
    • personal documents of the deceased that could be useful for the liquidation (bank statements, insurance policies, etc.);;
    • a copy of the most recent marriage contract, if applicable;
    • a copy of the most recent divorce judgment, if applicable;
    • documents from the trustee in bankruptcy, if applicable;
    • form BNR-105-V, Family Patrimony if applicable;
    • any other relevant documents;
    • the keys to buildings or vehicles belonging to the deceased, if applicable.
    Note
    You can also send us the names of persons interested in acquiring the property of the deceased so that we can communicate with them.

    We ask that the family either secure or send us the following property:

    • cash;
    • jewelry and watches;
    • collectible coins and objects;
    • paintings;
    • movable property (vehicles, furniture, etc.).

    The family can dispose of the following property because we will not retrieve it:

    • bedding and mattresses;
    • clothing;
    • household articles;
    • perishable or non-perishable food;
    • paper documents, other than the aforementioned documents;
    • photo albums;
    • films, DVDs and books.
  3. Send (or ask the notary to send) all documents to the following address:

    Direction des successions non réclamées
    Revenu Québec
    500, boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, 10e étage
    Montréal (Québec)  H2Z 1W7

    Once we have received the documents and verified that the succession can be considered unclaimed, we will open a file and become the liquidator of the succession.

    Renunciation of the family patrimony
    Even if you renounce the partition of the family patrimony, we must nonetheless calculate the amount of the debt resulting from the partition. The surviving spouse, if applicable, must file form BNR-105-V, Family Patrimony, so that we can make the calculation.

    or more information about family patrimony, consult your legal advisor or see the Ministère de la Justice website.

Claiming a succession

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