The liquidator, previously known as the testamentary executor, is the person responsible for settling your succession. You are not obliged to appoint a liquidator in your will, but it is advisable to do so. You can even name a replacement should the person you have chosen die before you or be unable or unwilling to accept the responsibility.
You may appoint one or more liquidators. Co-liquidators must work together, unless they are dispensed from doing so by the will or, in the absence of testamentary provisions, by the heirs.
If you do not appoint a liquidator, your heirs will settle your succession. They can share the duties among themselves, or appoint a liquidator by a majority decision. If the heirs cannot agree, the court may appoint a liquidator.
A person appointed as a liquidator:
is not obliged to accept the task of liquidating the succession, unless he or she is the sole heir;
may resign from the task for a serious reason;
must notify the heirs in writing if he or she decides to resign;
is liable for any prejudice caused to the heirs as a result of negligence when liquidating your succession.
The liquidator’s duties
The liquidator of your succession must perform the following duties, among others:
publish a notice of closure of inventory in the RDPRM and in a newspaper distributed in the locality where you lived;
collect any money that was owed to you;
pay the debts of the succession;
produce your income tax declarations and pay your taxes, where applicable;
identify the people who may inherit;
hand over legacies by particular title;
divide the property among the heirs;
produce a final account and publish the closure of the account in the RDPRM.
The liquidator remains in office for as long as necessary to liquidate the succession. There is no specific time limit, but the liquidator should complete the task as soon as possible. If the liquidation takes more than one year, the liquidator must submit a report on his or her administration to the heirs, creditors and legatees by particular title who have not yet been paid.
All costs incurred in settling the succession are borne by the succession.
Please note that as liquidator, you must get a certificate from Revenu Québec authorizing the distribution of property and a clearance certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency. If you don’t get those certificates before distributing the property, you can be held personally responsible for unpaid taxes as well as interest and penalties.
The liquidator’s remuneration
A liquidator is entitled to the reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties.
A liquidator who is not one of your heirs is entitled to receive remuneration. If you have not provided for this in your will, your heirs will set the amount, or if they cannot come to an agreement, the court will do so.
If the liquidator is one of your heirs, he or she cannot ask to be paid. However, you may provide for remuneration in your will, or your heirs may agree to offer remuneration.