Legal services
ArbitrationCommon Law MarriageMandatesSpousal obligationsPatrimony protectionRetirementSettlement of an estateWillsThe purchase and sale of propertyYour rights and obligationsThe notary and your moneyPreliminary contracts


The register of wills

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 upon wills.

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:

  • It ensures the confidentiality of any will registered therein.
  • It facilitates locating your will.
  • It permits identification of your last will.
  • 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.
Having these advantages, the Register greatly facilitates locating your testamentary dispositions and thus permits speeding up the settlement of your estate.

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.

  About Us | Services | Notaries | Links | Contact Us | Français
Site Development by Daslweb