The liquidation of a succession is a complicated operation. The law imposes strict procedures for liquidators to fulfill their obligations. Furthermore, the liquidation of a succession necessitates the preparation of an inventory of the deceased's property as well as the handling of important fiscal matters: filing the deceased's income tax returns, making the tax elections that could prove beneficial to the heirs, requesting the certificates authorizing the release of property. These measures are important and must be respected by the liquidator (executor), otherwise the heirs could suffer prejudice and the liquidator could be subject to various legal sanctions.
From a legal standpoint, marriage establishes a special economic relationship between spouses to provide suitable protection for the less financially secure spouse. In certain cases, failure to consult a notary may have serious consequences.
A succession may be in deficit. In certain circumstances, the heirs could also be held personally liable for debts held by the succession in excess of the property they receive. It is therefore sometimes advisable to renounce the inheritance. Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to renounce an inheritance once it has been accepted, even if the acceptance is merely implied. For example, all it takes is for you to register the deceased's car in your name or transfer the balance of one of the deceased's bank accounts into your own. In the eyes of the law, you would, in all probability, be deemed to have accepted inheritance of an insolvent succession and be held personally liable for the payment of all debts—not a very reassuring thought.
If you are responsible for the liquidation of a succession, your notary can help you make the right decisions. Under the Civil Code, it is the duty of a liquidator to act as a reasonable person, and a reasonable person must seek legal advice. Nothing must be left to chance. For peace of mind, consult your notary.
For all these delicate matters,
you can rely on Eric Dugas.