The register of
What happens to your property at your death?
No matter how little or how much property you may have, you
want to be sure that it is distributed to the right people
after your death. * It would be very comforting to know that
at the time your loved ones are mourning your death, you will
have done everything in your power to avoid problems. * A
will lets you choose your heirs and clearly outline your last
wishes. If you do not make a will, the law will instead determine
who inherits your property. A proper will is a guarantee that
your wishes will be respected. It will also make settling
your estate that much easier.
What type of will in suitable for you?
Although you may be aware that there are many types of wills,
you may not know what they are. Our legal system recognizes
three different types of wills :
- Notarial or authentic will. This
type is made before a notary in the presence of a witness.
- Holograph will. A holograph will
is entirely handwritten by the testator and signed by him
and does not require the presence of witnesses.
- Wills made in presence of witnesses.
This type of will does not have to be handwritten by the
testator (it can be typed, for instance) and it is signed
by the testator before two witnesses meeting certain requirements.
The two witnesses must also sign the will.
If you choose to make a notarial will, the
will takes effect immediately upon death. But if your will
is not a notarial will, it is subject to probate before the
Superior Court after your death.
General good reasons for choosing
a notarial will
A will is an extremely important legal document and is the
basis on which your estate or succession is settled. It is
therefore essential that the will be well drafted, complete
and above all, that it will be free from ambiguity.
When you have recourse to the services of a notary, and his
expertise in drawing up legal documents, you can be sure that
there will be no problem interpreting your will. Your notary
knows how important it is to choose the right words and he
will formulate your last wishes in legal terms according to
your instructions. He will also help you remember everything
that should be included to make the execution of the will
an easy task.
Wills that are not made before notaries must be probated (or
validated) by the Superior Court after your death. Only a
notarial will takes effect as soon as you die, without prior
court judgement. This offers the undeniable advantage of considerable
savings in both time and money. This is because notaries are
public officers able to confer the character of authenticity
Another advantage of a notarial will is that the notary will
keep the original in a safe place, where it cannot be lost
or destroyed, as so often happens. The notary also has your
document entered in the Register of Wills of the Chambre des
notaires. The will itself is not filed there : only the fact
of its existence is recorded, thus making it easy to locate
after your death.
An exceptional system
The notaries of Quebec, guardians from the beginning of the
most intimate secrets of Quebecers, were the first, in 1961,
to set up a system of registration to ensure better protection
for your wills.
This system, known as the Register of Wills of the Chambre
des notaires, now contains more than 3, 400, 000 will inscriptions.
A system with many uses
As a result of the changes made to the Register in 1978, wills
other than notarial ones may now benefit from the advantages
of the Register.
Thus, a holograph will (written in your own handwriting) or
a will signed in the presence of two witnesses may be entered
in the Register in the same manner as a notarial will. Registration
must, however, be done through a notary of your choice.
A system that is advantageous
Conceived and created in order to guarantee that your last
wishes are respected, the Register, which has been adapted
to current needs, possesses definite advantages:
Having these advantages, the Register greatly
facilitates locating your testamentary dispositions and thus
permits speeding up the settlement of your estate.
- It ensures the confidentiality of
any will registered therein.
- It facilitates locating your will.
- It permits identification of your
- It eliminates the risk that the will
never comes to light or is found too late for the settlement
of the estate.
- It avoids the possibility that the
will, even if in holograph form or made in the presence
of witnesses, may be accidentally destroyed or maliciously
done away with by heirs disappointed with its provisions.
A system that is reality accessible
When you choose to make a notarial will, you avoid many complications.
The notary, in addition to advising you and guiding you in the
right direction, assumes full responsibility for the deed and
has it entered in the Register.
Should you decide to draw up your own will, you should subsequently
forward it to your notary who, after depositing it in his minutes
to ensure its conservation, will have it entered in the Register.
The Register of Wills of the Chambre des notaires thus offers
one of the most avant-garde systems for registering wills.
To ascertain the existence of a will following a death, you
should consult your notary or go directly to the Register of
Wills of the Chambre des notaires with proof of death.