Family patrimony is a very important concept to know and understand when you want to get married or civilly united in Quebec. Family patrimony is different from the matrimonial regime that you will choose by default or by marriage contract.
Definition of family patrimony
Family patrimony is a set of property constituted from marriage or civil union, and it only takes effect at dissolution of the marriage or civil union (at the time of a divorce, dissolution of civil union, separation of bed and board, decease of one of the spouses or annulment of the marriage or civil union).
Contrary to popular belief, in the current state of the law, de facto spouses have no right to family patrimony, regardless of the length of their union.
The importance of knowing what composes the family patrimony
It is important to know what composes the family patrimony, especially for people who have chosen the matrimonial regime of separation of property.
A property that is not on the list of property included or excluded from the family patrimony is governed by your matrimonial regime
Property composing the family patrimony
The properties that are included in the family patrimony are:
- The family residences and the rights related to their use (the spouses’ home, a secondary residence, etc.)
- The objects furnishing the family residences (furniture, appliances, electrical and electronic equipment, works of art, etc.).
- Motor and recreational vehicles used by the family (car(s), motorized campers, utility vehicle, pleasure boat, etc.)
- Money accumulated during the marriage in a pension plan (e.g., RRSP, pension fund…).
Property excluded from the family patrimony
Property received by either of the spouses (or civilly united spouses) which have been received by inheritance or donation, before or during the marriage (or civil union) are excluded from the family patrimony.