Before you draw up your will, make an inventory of your property and debts, specify your last wishes and determine whether you need professional advice.
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Make a written inventory of:
your property (e.g., house, cottage, savings bonds, insurance policies, bank accounts);
your debts (e.g., mortgages, loans or other debts).
This inventory will be useful to the people who will settle your succession, especially if it is complete, up-to-date and dated. It may also be useful for the person who will administer your property if you become incapable.
You can also leave information, which may be kept in a sealed envelope, about your electronic IDs and passwords to facilitate the liquidator’s work.
The Chambre des notaires du Québec provides forms to help you write your inventory. For more information, visit the Patrimony: your 360 guide made by the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
Tax and other issues
It’s a good idea to consult a financial or tax advisor if:
you own property of a certain value;
you have a secondary residence or a business or hold shares in a company;
some of the persons to whom you wish to bequeath your property have special needs;
you believe the transfer of certain property, such as a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), might have a fiscal impact.
We suggest that you consult a legal advisor, especially if you think the settlement of your succession will be complicated, for example because of:
the high value of the property bequeathed;
your desire to protect young children or persons with limited capacity to administer their property;
the international nature of the succession;
any other reason.
We recommend speaking to a notary and creating a notarial will if you fear that the validity of your will may be contested.
You may include your last wishes in your will. In other words, you may specify:
how your body is to be disposed of after your death, for example by burial or cremation;
your funeral arrangements.
However, a will is normally read after the person’s funeral, so you should also record your last wishes in another document that can be read immediately after your death. You can also discuss them with your family ahead of time. You can make funeral arrangements or purchase a tombstone while you are alive.