Act of death

Certificate drawn up by the Directeur de l’état civil upon receiving the attestation and declaration of death and publishing it in the civil register. It’s the official document that attests to the date of death.

Attestation of death

Attestation of a person's death issued by a doctor, with one copy sent to the Directeur de l'état civil and another to the person required to report the death.


Certificate or copy of the act of death

The certificate and copy of the act are documents issued by the Directeur de l’état civil as proof of death. They are used to establish the death of a person, mainly to terminate programs such as health insurance, auto insurance, social insurance, pension benefits and social assistance, and to determine the date the surviving spouse’s benefits will be paid.

Civil union

A commitment by 2 people aged 18 or over to live together and uphold the rights and obligations that derive from this status. The civil union must be contracted publicly in the presence of a competent officiant.

Clearance Certificate

Certificate issued by the Canada Revenue Agency to demonstrate that all income tax amounts due by the deceased, up until the date of death, were paid to the federal government.


Act subsequent to a will that completes, amends or revokes it.


Declaration of death

Document usually completed by the funeral director who sends one copy to the Directeur de l’état civil and another to the person making the funeral arrangements.

Declaration of heredity

In the absence of a will, a document drawn up by a notary that identifies the deceased, his civil status and matrimonial regime, if applicable, and his heirs. It may also be used to designate the liquidator of the estate. It is used with parties such as banks, Desjardins caisses, insurance companies and government bodies.

Declaration of transmission and heirs or act of transfer of an immovable

The declaration must be in the form of a notarial act. It must be published in the land register. It identifies the deceased owner, the property he owned when he died and the persons to whom the immovable is transferred.

Discharge of the liquidator

This is the formal release of the liquidator’s obligations following the distribution of assets to the heirs and publication of the notice of closure of the account of the liquidator in the RDPRM.



Corpus of a deceased's property and debts at the time of his death.

Estate liquidation

Process consisting in identifying and contacting the successors, determining the contents of the estate, collecting debts owed to the estate, paying off the debts and expenses of the estate as well as spousal or child support obligations, paying the legacies by particular title, making an inventory of assets and distributing them.


Former term replaced by liquidator.


Family patrimony

Body of rules designed to provide legal and economic rights to spouses united by the bonds of marriage or civil union. These dispositions do not apply to common-law spouses.

Final account

Determines and breaks down the net assets or deficit of the estate.



Successor who accepts the inheritance.

Holograph will

Will entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator. It requires no witnesses. This type of will must be probated by the court.


Insolvent estate

Estate whose debts (liabilities) exceed its assets.

Intestate estate

Estate settled pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Civil Code, in the absence of testamentary dispositions.


Itemized list and description of an estate's assets and liabilities. It is drawn up by the liquidator.



Gift of personal property by will.

Legatee by particular title

Person who is receives a legacy. Not considered an heir, he does not have the same obligations toward the estate as heirs, especially with regards to debts. He is not liable for any obligations of the deceased in the property, unless the other assets of the estate are not sufficient to pay the debts. In which case, he is only liable up to the value of the property received.


Person to whom a bequest is left.


Person or trust company designated by the testator, the majority of the heirs or the court to settle the estate.


Notarial will

Will made before a notary and signed by a witness. This type of will does not have to be probated by the court.

Notice Before Distribution of the Property

Form filled out by the liquidator of a succession to notify the Ministère du revenu du Québec of his intention to distribute the estate. The liquidator must obtain the certificate authorizing him to do so before proceeding with the distribution.

Notice of closure of inventory

Document published in the RDPRM (register of personal and movable real rights) indicating where the inventory of the estate may be consulted by interested persons (creditors, successors, heirs).

Notice of closure of the account of the liquidator

Document published in the RDPRM once debts and legacies by particular title have been paid indicating where the final account of the estate may be consulted by the interested persons (creditors and heirs).


Probate of wills

Holograph wills and wills made in the presence of witnesses must, after an individual has died, be subjected to a probate procedure by a notary or the court to ensure the deceased is indeed the author and that their form is valid. The procedure is required to give legal effect to the will. It also makes the will accessible to the successors for consultation and enables them to obtain certified copies of the will.

Proposal for partition

Manner proposed by the liquidator for the distribution of estate assets among the heirs.



The Régistre des droits personnels et reels immobiliers (RDPRM) is a computerized government register used to make public certain rights concerning movable property and individuals. A right registered in the RDPRM is considered to be known by everyone.

Rendering of account

Designates the procedure by which the liquidator presents a detailed account of the estate in which he lists the estate’s expenses and income, as well as its net assets or deficit.

Renunciation of a succession

A notarial act or judicial declaration by which a successor renounces his rights to a succession.

Representation of heirs

A favour granted by the Civil Code of Québec by which a relative is called to collect an estate that his ascendant, who is a closer relative of the deceased, would have taken but is unable to take himself, having died previously or being unworthy.

Right of option

Right offered to heirs to accept or refuse the estate.


Solvent estate

Estate whose assets exceed its debts (liabilities).

Statement of death

Statement usually issued by the funeral director, with one copy sent to the Directeur de l'état civil and another to the person in charge of the deceased's funeral arrangements.


Person who, under the Civil Code, is entitled to inherit but has yet to accept or refuse the estate.


Testamentary clause or disposition

Clause that may be contained in a marriage or civil union contract, commonly called the "surviving spouse" clause, which makes the spouse the sole heir of the deceased spouse’s property. This clause has the same legal authority as a notarial will.

Testamentary estate

Estate settled according to the testamentary dispositions.


Person who draws up a will.

Trust tax return

Tax return for income earned or received by the estate after the death.



Removable written instrument through which a person (referred to as the testator) determines how his property will be distributed after his death. As set out in the Civil Code, the only forms of will that may be made are holograph wills, wills made in the presence of witnesses or notarial wills.

Will made in the presence of witnesses

Will written by the testator, a third party, or by a mechanical process (e.g.: word processing), dated and signed by the testator and 2 witnesses. This type of will must be probated by the court.

Will search

Required procedure that consists in determining if the deceased has a will registered with the Chambre des notaires or the Barreau du Québec (Québec Bar).