Probating the will
A holograph will and a will made before witnesses must be probated after the testator’s death. A notarial will is an authentic act and does not need to be probated.
The application to have a will probated may be made by any interested person - usually the liquidator of the succession - or by a legal professional acting on behalf of a person interested in the succession.
The purpose of probate is to render the will usable by:
- establishing that it was in fact written by the deceased or at his or her request;
- confirming that it is in a valid form;
- making it available for public consultation;
- allowing for certified copies to be obtained.
The will may be probated by a notary or by the Superior Court.
Probate by a notary
A notary may probate the will, on the condition that:
- it was not filed with the notary’s firm;
- the notary does not work and has not worked at the office at which the will was filed.
Probate by the Superior Court
If the application for probate is filed with the Superior Court, the applicant must select one of the following judicial districts, depending on the situation:
- if the deceased lived in Québec, the courthouse of the latest deceased’s place of residence;
- if the deceased did not live in Québec, the judicial district:
- of the place where the property is located;
- of the place of death;
- of the place at which the defendant is domiciled.
You must pay a fee to have the will probated.
Notice to successors
You must inform the people who are entitled to inherit (the successors) that the will is being probated. However, the court may exempt you from doing this if is impractical or too onerous to do so, or if it does not appear necessary.
Documents required for probate
The application for probate must be accompanied by the following documents:
- the original will;
- the copy of the act of death issued by the Directeur de l'état civil;
- an affidavit:
- from one of the witnesses, in the case of a will made before witnesses;
- from a person who recognizes the deceased’s signature and writing, in the case of a holograph will;
- proof that the notice to successors was sent (by bailiff, registered mail or certified mail).
You may have the will probabed only if it is written in French or English. If it is written in another language, you must first have it translated by a translator recognized by the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec.