What happens if the debtor of the alimony dies, is it possible to claim financial support from the deceased’s estate ?

What happens if the debtor of the alimony dies, is it possible to claim financial support from the deceased’s estate ?

LEGALLY SPEAKING:

Here is the fourth in a series of legal columns by Quebec law firm  Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats.
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Me Sophia Claude and Me Albina Mulaomerovic Joli-Cœur Lacasse S.E.N.C.R.L.

Me Sophia Claude and Me Albina Mulaomerovic
Joli-Cœur Lacasse Avocats

Yes, but under certain conditions. Quebec law provides that a spouse, a civil union spouse, a separated spouse, a parent or a child may, within a six (6) month delay restricted by law, claim from the estate of his/her deceased a financial contribution (alimony).

But beware, in order for such a claim to be possible, it is necessary that before the death, the person claiming a financial contribution was in need or financially dependent on the deceased.

In this regard, our courts have stated that this recourse in survival of the obligation to provide support cannot be exercised by a relative who believes he/she has been unjustly deprived of inheritance and who wishes to improve his standard of living.

The divorced spouse of the deceased may also make such a claim in survival of the obligation to provide support to the deceased’s estate, but only if he/she was in fact receiving support from that person at the time of his death, which means that he/she was indeed in need.

It should be noted that Quebec law prevents the exercise of this recourse for a person unworthy of inheriting from the deceased. For example, the term “unworthy of inheriting” applies, among others, to the heir convicted of attempt on the life of the deceased, a parent deprived of parental authority or to an heir who has or has attempted to hinder the deceased last wills.

Special and rather complex rules fix the maximum contribution that can be granted. The amount so determined varies according to the person who claims the contribution and the estate’s assets.

For example, the maximum amount that a spouse, civil union spouse or child can claim as a support in case of death is the difference between half the share they would have received if the estate had been assigned to them without a will and what is actually received from the estate.

When the claim is made by a first degree relative of the deceased (for example, mother or father), the maximum contribution that can be obtained is the lesser of the value of six months’ support and 10% of the value of the succession.

When the claim is made by the former spouse of the deceased, the maximum he/she could receive under the law is the lesser of twelve (12) months’ support he/she was in fact receiving before the death or 10% of the value of the succession.

However, the courts have unanimously recognized that this was a minimum protection and that former spouses could anticipate in a contract together a more generous protection.

For example, the Appeals Court of Quebec declared valid a contract in which the deceased agreed to pay a fixed alimony to his ex-spouse until he/she dies and that obligation of the deceased, after his death, was transmitted to the deceased’s estate.

Our family law team is able to help you and guide you in through what can often be a complex process.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about our services.

The masculine form is used merely to simplify the text. No discrimination is intended.

 

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