You learn that you have been appointed as liquidator of the succession of a relative or client pursuant to his or her will, or according to the wishes of a majority of his or her heirs.
You can accept or refuse the office of liquidator.
If you refuse to act as liquidator, you are required to execute a document to this effect and inform the successors (the persons who may receive the succession, but have not yet officially accepted it) thereof.
If you accept to act as liquidator, the appointment must be published in the register of personal and movable real rights to publicize the fact that you act as liquidator in order for the beneficiaries and creditors of the deceased or the succession to know who to contact for anything related to the patrimony of the deceased person (article 777 C.C.Q.).
Prior to the transmission of the bequeathed property and the partition of the succession, you are required to perform various administrative duties, including the following:
- Will search in the registry of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the registry of the Barreau du Québec
- Acceptance of the office of liquidator
- Will probate and communication thereof to the heirs
- Obtaining letters of verification (when immovables included in the succession are located in jurisdictions outside Quebec)
- Payment of the deceased’s debts
- Payment of the funeral arrangements
- Collection of revenues and debts
- Closing the deceased’s bank accounts and transfer of the balances to the account of the succession
- Identification of the investments and transfer in the name of the succession
- Continuance of lawsuits (as plaintiff, defendant or impleaded party)
- Payment of instalments to tax authorities
- Preparation of an inventory of the property of the succession
- Submission of an annual account
- Alienation of the assets (limited power of disposal in certain cases)
- Preparation and filing of the federal and provincial tax returns of the deceased and eventually of the succession
- Partition of the family patrimony and the matrimonial regime
- Clearance or distribution certificate (to be obtained from tax authorities)
- Publication of a notice of closure of the inventory
An holograph will or a will made in the presence of two witnesses must be probated by the Court. A notarial will does not have to probated by the Superior Court of Quebec. Will search certificates must be obtained from the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the Barreau du Québec in all cases.
As liquidator, you are required to render an annual account of your administration and a final account at the time of the final distribution of the succession. Any discretionary power, as wide as it can be, does not authorize you to act in a partial manner or to place yourself in a situation of conflict of interests.
It is generally appropriate for the liquidator to have a law professional, an accountant and a tax expert assist him or her when the nature of the property or certain succession issues justify it. The liquidator should also refrain from giving legal, accounting or tax advice to the heirs. He or she should rather encourage them to consult independent experts of their choice.