The liquidator, previously known as the testamentary executor, is the person responsible for settling your estate. You are not obliged to appoint a liquidator in your will, but it is advisable to do so. You can even name a replacement should the person you have chosen die before you or be unable or unwilling to accept the responsibility.
If you do not appoint a liquidator, your heirs will settle your estate. They can share the duties among themselves, or agree on and appoint a liquidator. If the heirs cannot agree, the court may appoint a liquidator.
A person appointed as a liquidator:
- is not obliged to accept the task of liquidating the estate, unless he or she is the sole heir;
- may resign from the task for a serious reason;
- must notify the heirs in writing if he or she decides to resign;
- is liable for any prejudice caused to the heirs as a result of negligence when liquidating your estate.
The liquidator's duties
The liquidator must perform the following duties, among others:
- make an inventory of your property;
- publish a notice of closure of inventory in the register of personal and real movable rights (RDPRM) and in a newspaper distributed in the locality where you lived;
- collect any money that was owed to you;
- pay the debts of the succession;
- produce your income tax declarations and pay your taxes, where applicable;
- identify the people who may inherit;
- divide the property among the heirs.
The liquidator remains in office for as long as necessary to liquidate the succession. There is no specific time limit, but the liquidator should complete the task as soon as possible. If the liquidation takes more than one year, the liquidator must submit a report on his or her administration to the heirs, creditors and legatees by particular title who have not yet been paid.
All costs incurred in settling the estate are borne by the succession.
The liquidator's remuneration
A liquidator who is not one of your heirs is entitled to receive remuneration. If you have not provided for this in your will, your heirs will set the amount.
If the liquidator is one of your heirs, he or she cannot ask to be paid. However, you may provide for remuneration in your will, or your heirs may agree to offer remuneration.