Intestate estate

Inheritance and Succession

Intestate estate

What happens when a person dies without having left a will? Contrary to popular belief, an intestate estate only very rarely fills our government’s coffers.

The Civil Code of Québec contains provisions governing cases of intestacy. The system is referred to as legal devolution.

IMPORTANT FACT: common-law spouses are not recognized in the application of legal devolution! Even though other acts recognize this status, when settling an estate in the absence of a will, the surviving common-law spouse shall have no rights.

Couples in a common-law union who have children or a house should meet with a notary to draw up a notarial will (Notarial Will) because the stakes are extremely high.

Legal devolution follows a certain logic in terms of allocating property. Please refer to the graphic below: