Notarial will

A notarial will is drawn up by a notary and is made in the presence of a witness generally provided by the notary. A second witness is required in some cases (for example, when the testator is blind).

The will must indicate the date and place where it was made. 

Once the will has been prepared, it is read to you by the notary, so that you are sure it reflects your wishes. If you wish, it may be read in the presence of the witness.

Once the will has been read, it must be signed by you, the notary and the witness, in each other’s presence.

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When you choose to make a notarial will, you receive advice from a legal professional, who can help you avoid errors that could create difficulties for your heirs. 

The professional can also give advice to help optimize your will (for instance with respect to fiscal matters) and protect your heirs.

It is also very difficult to challenge a notarial will, since the notary: 

  • checks:
    • your identity;
    • your capacity;
    • your free and informed consent;
  • makes sure the will is valid and meets the conditions imposed by law.

The notary will keep the original of the will in his or her office, so there is no risk that you will lose it, and your legatees will be sure of finding it when you die. Notaries are required to register all of the notarial wills they receive in the Register of Testamentary Dispositions of the Chambre des notaires du Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window..

A notarial will takes effect as soon as you die. It does not need to be probated. This saves your heirs money, effort and time.

There is no legal requirement for your will to be read in the presence of your heirs after your death. However, reading the will in their presence has many advantages, since the notary can then answer your heirs’ questions or help the liquidator understand his or her duties. That is why many wills have a clause requiring that the will be read.


The costs of making a notarial will vary depending on the notary and the complexity of your situation.

They usually include:

  • the drafting of your will based on your needs and situation;
  • the notary’s explanations and advice;
  • the signature of your will and storage of the original document;
  • receipt of a certified copy of the will for your records;
  • the registration of your will in the register of testamentary dispositions and mandates kept by the Chambre des notaires du Québec.

Last update: February 23, 2023


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