An estate inventory or inventory of the deceased’s property must be made following the death of a person. The liquidator of an estate is required by law (Article 794 of the Civil Code of Quebec) to carry out an estate inventory. This inventory must be done regardless of whether the deceased had a will or not. A testator may not, in his or her will, exempt the liquidator of the estate from drawing up this inventory. However, unanimously, the heirs can waive it, which can have serious consequences.
Definition of estate inventory or inventory of property
The estate inventory, also known as the inventory of property, is clearly defined by section 1326 of the Civil Code of Quebec. It must be a faithful and accurate list of all the deceased’s property.
This list must include in particular:
- the description of immovables and their value
- the description of movables and their value
- the description of cash and other securities
- the listing of valuable documents
- the statement of debts of the deceased
The inventory of the deceased’s property is drawn up on a balance sheet that shows the assets and liabilities of the deceased.
Purpose of the inventory of property
The inventory of property is an important step. It informs persons interested in the estate of the deceased’s assets and debts. Using it, the interested parties will have the correct information on the state of the estate and will be able to decide whether to accept or renounce the estate.
It allows the heirs not to have to pay the deceased’s debts beyond the value of the property they receive. It is therefore both an administrative and legal formality, but a real means of protection.
It should be noted that the inventory may be subject to updates upon discovery of new facts, assets and debts which were hitherto unknown.
Deadlines for making an estate inventory
The Civil Code of Quebec does not indicate a time frame for producing the inventory, although section 632 of the Civil Code of Quebec otherwise mentions a six-month delay.
In practice, it often happens that it is not possible to collect all the information on the assets and liabilities of the deceased within six months. It is then possible to obtain from the heirs, and sometimes from the Court, an extension of this period. It is important to note that no time limit can be granted due to negligence or bad faith to produce this inventory.
Who can do an estate inventory
The inventory of the deceased’s property can be made by the liquidator of the estate, an heir or a person interested in the succession.
Section 1327 of the Civil Code of Quebec recognizes two forms of estate inventory:
- the notarized estate inventory,
- the estate inventory before two witnesses (under private signature).
The notarized estate inventory is preferred. The notary, unless he is in charge of the liquidation of the estate, will not be responsible for drawing up the inventory. He or she will record it in a notarial deed. This will facilitate the preservation, tracing and issuance of copies to those interested in the estate.
After the inventory of the deceased’s property, the closing notice
Once the estate inventory has been made, the liquidator must register an inventory closure notice in the Register of Personal and Movable Real Rights (RPMRR). This notice of registration of the inventory is a legal obligation which stems from section 795 of the Civil Code of Quebec to confirm that the inventory has been made: “Closure of the inventory is published in the register of personal and movable real rights by registration of a notice identifying the deceased and indicating the place where the inventory may be consulted by interested persons.
The notice is also published in a newspaper circulated in the locality where the deceased had his last known address.”