Wills and the obligation of support

If you are paying support, your death does not terminate your obligation and your heirs will have to assume your financial responsibilities for a certain period towards: 

  • your former spouse who collected support at the time of your death;
  • your spouse in a marriage or civil union;
  • your children;
  • your parents.

Each of these persons may claim a financial contribution towards support from your succession within six months after your death. This right exists even if the person is one of your heirs and did not receive support from you before your death.

Limits on the responsibility of your heirs

The contribution made by your heirs cannot exceed:

  • the difference between half of what your spouse or child would have received if the succession had been liquidated according to law in the absence of a will and the amount he or she actually received under your will;
  • the equivalent of 12 months of support or 10% of the value of your succession, in the case of support paid to a former spouse who was receiving support at the time of your death;
  • the equivalent of six months of support or 10% of the value of your succession, in the case of support paid to another person to whom support is owed (e.g. your parents).

If the contribution is claimed by your spouse or child, the value of certain gifts you may have made in the three years preceding your death and those ending at your death are deemed part of the succession for the purpose of determining the contribution.

Your heirs may pay the amount to the person concerned in a lump sum or in several instalments.

Claims after your death

A person who is entitled to receive support may claim a financial contribution towards support within six months after your death, even if he or she did not exercise the right before you died.

For example, your child may apply to the liquidator for support if he or she did not receive anything under your will or considers that the amount received is insufficient.

However, a person may only apply for support if he or she is in need.

The amount of the support will be established on the basis of various factors, including: 

  • the needs and resources of the person concerned;
  • the assets of the succession;
  • the amount the person has already received from the succession.

In these situations, the amount that may be paid to your spouse or child cannot exceed the difference between

  • half of what he or she would have received if the succession had been liquidated as stipulated by law in the absence of a will, and;
  • the amount he or she actually received from the succession. 

The only amount that does not require the liquidator’s approval is the amount paid to your former spouse, provided he or she was receiving support at the time of your death. Any other amount claimed after your death requires the approval of the liquidator, who must obtain consent from your heirs and legatees by particular title. If an agreement cannot be reached, the amount of support is established by the court.

Please consult a legal advisor for additional information on support payments from successions.

Last update: December 5, 2022

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