Handwritten document for notarial services.
Handwritten document for notarial services.

Taking the first step to preparing your last will is an important part of life planning. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are too young, or that there is plenty of time left. Life is full of unexpected surprises, and preparing a will is a demonstration of sound financial planning.

Surveys show that more than 50% of Canadians still do not have a will. This statistic is even greater in the 18 to 34 age group at 70% and 66% for those aged 35 to 54. 

A last will is necessary to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of in case the unexpected happens and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

We understand that the subject of preparing a will can be a sensitive one and that people wish to postpone it for later. However, the best time to prepare a will is now, while there is still time, and with the help of a qualified notary, it won’t be so complicated.

It is recommended by the law that persons 18 and above must have a will

Read on to know more about the benefits of a notarized will, the types of wills available to Quebecers, and the steps to preparing your will.

Would you like to get help from a notary in Quebec? Use our short online form to connect with our partner notaries, free of charge!

What types of wills are valid in Quebec?

Types of wills recognized by Quebec laws.

The laws in Quebec are, at times, different than in other parts of Canada. Thus, it Is important for anyone preparing a will to know the legal requirements and the types of wills that are recognized under Quebec laws.

In Quebec, 3 types of wills are recognized:

A will in the Presence of Witnesses

To make a will in the presence of witnesses, you have several options. You can write it yourself by hand or print it from your computer or write it from a form purchased from a store or the Internet. You can also have it written by another person (a lawyer). However, it must be signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who are not part of the estate and won’t benefit from the will.

The Pros and Cons of a Will in the presence of Witnesses

The Pros and Cons of a Will in the presence of Witnesses



A lawyer can keep a copy of the will

Must be probated upon death, resulting in additional costs and delays

If you don’t use a lawyer, a will in the presence of witnesses will cost nothing. 

It can be damaged or lost if not properly stored or kept in the custody of a lawyer.

A lawyer can also register the will in the Registre des dispositions testamentaires du Barreau du Québec (bar of Quebec registry) to make it easy to trace.  

Without legal advice, the person writing this type of will may not anticipate important issues. The will may also lack clarity if written without legal guidance.

A simple will can cost around $300. It may be higher, depending on the complexity of your estate. The cost of probating a will after death can cost around $1,000.

Holographic Wills

As the name suggests, a holographic will is one written by hand solely by the testator.  It is the simplest type of will because only 2 requirements are needed:

  • It must be written by hand by the person executing the will;
  • It must be signed by the person making the will. 

You don’t need witnesses for a holographic will but it is recommended that you inform your relatives that it exists and where it is kept.

After your death, your heirs need to have the original copy of this will.

The Pros and Cons of Holographic Wills



Fast and simple to prepare

Must be written by hand, cannot be typed or use a pre-printed form

Costs nothing but a pen and paper

Must be probated after death, needs to be verified by a clerk or notary upon death

Witnesses are not required

Can easily get lost or destroyed


Not suitable for complex estates


Can be challenged in court

At the time of writing, the testator will not pay anything. However, delays and legal costs of at least $1,000 for the probate of will be incurred after death.

Notarial Will

A notarial will is prepared by a notary.  It reflects your wishes and considers your estate and family situation in accordance with the legal requirements.

What are the rules for writing a notarial will in Quebec?

    • Must be written in English or French.
    • It must state the place and date where it was prepared. 
  • It must be signed by the testator in front of 2 witnesses and the notary. The notary can provide the witnesses.


The Pros and Cons of Notarial Wills



You get legal advice regarding the preparation of your will.

A notarial fee is paid (around $350 to $1,000)

Notarial wills are more difficult to challenge.


A notarial will follows your wishes and is explicitly written by a notary so there is no misinterpretation or ambiguity.


A probate of the will is not necessary after death which means no significant delays or additional legal costs.


Notarial wills are registered in the Registre des dispositions testamentaires de la Chambre des notaires du Québec (Association of Notaries in Quebec) so they are easy to find.


A notarial will is the safest will

A notarial will is considered to be the safest type of will which is why it is worth paying the cost of a notary’s services.

It gives you and your heirs the peace of mind you deserve. Your will is safely preserved and will not be lost or destroyed. The family will have no difficulty locating the will since the notary will register it.  As a public officer, a notary will establish that the will is authentic, thus, can be executed immediately after death.

4 Important Components of a turn-key Notarial Will

To plan a turn-key notarial will, you can consider 4 important components: 

A protection mandate

This document designates the person responsible for making decisions about your care and property in the event of incapacity. Your proxy will exercise your rights and consent on your behalf; without this document, a tutorship to an incapacitated adult will have to be opened in a situation of incapacity.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney is used to appoint a person to represent you in legal or administrative acts. The principle is similar to the protection mandate except that the person giving the power of attorney must be competent at the time of giving it, and he must remain so.

Advance medical directives

An Advance Medical Directives form is used to give your consent or your refusal regarding certain medical procedures in anticipation of a situation where you would be unable to give consent.

Funeral prearrangements

A funeral prearrangement contract is used to plan and pay for your funeral even before your death. The advantage of this approach is to relieve your family of the financial burden or decision-making to your following your death. However, this process must be carried out with a qualified funeral adviser.

If you plan a turn-key notarial will with a qualified notary in our network, you can have total peace of mind and security in the knowledge that even an untimely death will not cause undue havoc in the future of your loved ones.

You can consult our partner notaries using our short online form, free of charge!

What happens if you don't have a will?

Dispute regarding inheritance in the absence of a will.

Now that you know more about wills, do you know what happens if you die without a will?

A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death.  Without a will, you won’t choose who gets your money or belongings. Rather, your estate will be distributed according to the Civil Code of Quebec after your taxes, debts, and other expenses are paid.  Typically, your estate is distributed as follows:

  • If you have a spouse but no children, the spouse receives 100% of your estate.
  • If you have a spouse and children, the spouse gets 1/3 of the estate and the remaining 2/3 is equally shared by your children.
  • If you have no spouse but have children, the estate is equally divided among your children.
  • If with a spouse but no children and with surviving parents, the spouse gets 2/3 of your estate and the other 1/3 is shared equally by your parents. If only one parent is deceased, the other gets their share.
  • If you have a spouse but no children and no parents, your siblings will receive 1/3 of your estate while the spouse gets 2/3. 

The exception to these rules is if the marriage contract or civil union has a testamentary clause
which means all of your assets are for your surviving spouse.

Who takes charge of your estate if you die without a will?

Without a will, you don’t have an appointed liquidator.  A liquidator takes on the responsibility of following your last wishes as indicated in your will.

In the absence of a will and a liquidator, your surviving relatives can share the role.  They can also decide to appoint someone among them or a lawyer.  This type of situation usually results in conflicts among their heirs.  There is also no guarantee that your estate is distributed according to what you would have wanted.

What happens to your minor children if you die without a will?

If your children are left without a surviving parent after you die, the court must appoint a legal guardian. 

The appointed guardian will perform the duties and responsibilities of a parent.  

If you have a will, you can designate a close friend, a sibling, or a relative you want for this role.  It can also allow you to stipulate how you want your children to be raised until they reach the legal age in Quebec.

Minors are too young to handle a large inheritance.  Their inheritance will be kept in trust until they reach the age of maturity.

Plan a notarial Will to protect your loved ones

Compare Home Quotes is proud to have several notaries throughout Quebec. Thus, no matter where you are, you will be able to compare the services and prices of notaries for the drafting of your notarial will.

As explained above, a notarial will at any age ensures that your death will not deprive your loved ones of a secure future.  It also ensures that your assets are given to the people you choose and in the manner you choose.

It is very simple to take the first step – fill out the form on this page and in less than 48 hours, you will receive a FREE AND WITHOUT OBLIGATION quote from one of our partner notaries!

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