How to Carry Out a Will Search

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A will search tells you whether a deceased person registered a will in one of the two official Quebec registers. To carry out a will search you’ll need official proof of death. You must then request a will search in both official registers: the Chambre des notaires (professional order of notaries) and the Barreau (professional order of lawyers).

Obtain official proof of death

To carry out a will search you’ll need either a “Copy of an Act of Death” or a “Death Certificate.” You can request one on the website of the Directeur de l’état civil (director of civil status).

  • The document provided by the funeral home (sometimes called an “attestation of death”) cannot be used for a will search. You’ll need one of the two documents mentioned above, issued by the Directeur de l’état civil. If you don’t submit the right document, you’ll have to start the process over.

Only Documents Allowed

Copy of an Act of Death

Death Certificate

Ask for a will search in both official registers 

There are two official will registers in Quebec: one is kept by the Chambre des notaires du Québec and the other by the Barreau du Québec. They are independent of each other. You must therefore make two search requests, that is, one for each register.  If you search only one, you won’t know if there’s a more recent will in the other register.

For each will search, you’ll need the following information about the deceased:

  • full name
  • date of birth and date of death
  • civil status (whether single, married, divorced)
  • social insurance number
  • previous addresses

The more information you provide, and the more accurate the information, the quicker the will searches can be carried out.

The Chambre des notaires and the Barreau will not send you the will. Instead, they’ll send you a “search certificate” indicating whether a will was registered with them. If it was, the certificate will indicate the contact information of the notary or lawyer who has the will.   

How to request a will search

By completing a paper request form, which you can fill in on your computer and then print

Where to send it

Chambre des notaires du Québec, by mail or in person at the address provided on the form

Documents to attach

  • Official proof of death
  • A copy of the official proof of death if you want the original returned to you

How long it takes

Usually two to three weeks

Sooner if you ask for rush service

Cost

About $20 to $60, depending on the type of service (regular or rush)

For more information

Chambre des notaires du Québec at 514-879-2906 or 1-800-340-4496

How to request a will search

Directly online or by completing a paper request form, which you can fill in on your computer and then print

Where to send it

Online request: form is sent automatically

Paper request form: Barreau du Québec, by mail or in person at the address provided on the form

Documents to attach

Online request: scans of the official proof of death

Paper request form: official proof of death and a copy of the official proof if you want the original returned to you

How long it takes

Two to three weeks

Cost

About $20

For more information

Barreau du Québec at 514-954-3411 or 1-844-954-3411

You can ask a notary or lawyer to carry out the will search. In this case, you’ll have to pay their professional fees, in addition to the cost of the will earch.