Renouncing an estate
Another myth that we’d like to dispel is that there is no choice but to accept the debts resulting from the death of a loved one. It is possible to renounce an estate devolved upon you by law or by will. Please refer to the section Settling an Estate of our website for information on the preliminary steps of settling an estate.
If you believe the estate to be insolvent, it is imperative that you refrain from committing acts of tacit or presumed acceptance of the estate, such as emptying the deceased’s bank account in order to pay funeral fees, selling the deceased’s property or paying bills. Unfortunately, once you or your loved ones have proceeded with the aforementioned acts, whether in good faith or not, it becomes impossible to renounce an estate. The debts of the estate could then be transferred to you personally.
Renouncing an estate is relatively simple. Your notary will ask you for the copies of the will searches and the death certificate and will then have you sign an estate renunciation deed. If one or several heirs or successors remain identifiable, the estate will belong to them de facto. However, if everyone renounces, your notary will send the appropriate documents to the unclaimed property department.