Liquidating an estate settlement

Find out how to liquidate an inheritance

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What is an estate settlement?

Estate settlement involves managing a person's affairs after their death. During this process, the executor must address a number of financial, legal and tax issues.

Become an executor

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Should you accept the role of executor?

You have the right to refuse to be an executor by notifying potential heirs and co-executors, and by following the instructions provided in the will.

Exception to the rule (Quebec only):

The role of executor falls to you if:

  • You are the sole heir of the deceased and the will does not authorize you to renounce the role.
  • You are the sole heir of the deceased in an estate without a will.

When you agree to act as executor of the estate, you are legally required to be registered in the Register of Personal and Movable Real Rights (RPMRR). 

Understanding estate settlement

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Article: The importance of executing a will and liquidating an estate

The executor is the person in charge of liquidating the estate when a person dies. They must be able to complete the tasks within the required time frame. Learn more about the responsibilities of an executor and what steps to take.

Learn more about the role of executor

Receiving an inheritance

Article: How to manage the inheritance of an estate?

Receiving a large sum of money as an inheritance brings its share of questions. Our expert answers your questions.

Learn to manage an inheritance

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Key steps

Are you ready to start settling the estate? Find out what you need to do over the short-, medium- and long-term.

Short term 


  • Organize the funeral

  • Obtain the required documents

  • Take inventory of the estate

  • Draft a notice of closure of inventory

  • Notify the beneficiaries

  • Notify organizations and service providers (phone and internet services, etc.)

  • Open an estate account

  • Ensure assets are secure

  • Partition family property

Medium term


  • Recover amounts due

  • Prepare tax returns

  • Obtain approval to distribute assets

  • Pay creditors and beneficiaries

Long term


  • Draw up a balance sheet for the estate

  • Obtain a release from the heirs

  • Carry out final distribution to heirs

  • Publish the notice of closure of account

  • Close the estate account

To better understand the details of each step, download our brochure.

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Little details that matter

Full brochure

To better understand the key steps of settling the estate, download our brochure

Looking for more information on our trust services? Check out our brochure, The Importance of Assistance, available for Quebec residents and residents of other provinces. The brochure for other provinces includes leaflets for:


British Columbia




New Brunswick

Legal disclaimers 

Certain terms and concepts may differ from province to province and are shared for general and informational purposes only. Estate settlement services are offered through National Bank subsidiaries. National Bank Trust is a subsidiary of National Bank of Canada.

The contents of this website must not be interpreted, considered or used as if it were financial, legal, fiscal, or other advice. National Bank and its partners in contents will not be liable for any damages that you may incur from such use.

We wish to inform you that the information presented on this website, whether financial, fiscal or regulatory, may not be valid outside the province of Quebec.

Those events, articles and videos are provided by National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities for information purposes only, and create no legal or contractual obligation for National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities. The details of this service offering and the conditions herein are subject to change.

The hyperlinks in those events, articles and videos may redirect to external websites not administered by National Bank. The Bank cannot be held liable for the content of external websites, or any damages caused by their use.

Views expressed in those events, articles and videos are those of the person being interviewed. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Bank or its subsidiaries.

For financial or business advice, please consult your National Bank advisor, financial planner or an industry professional (e.g., accountant, tax specialist or lawyer). 

Questions about estate planning?

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