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Insolvent Estate


Losing someone close to you can be difficult to deal with. When grieving, the focus is on emotions, and the administrative aspects are often avoided. It must be taken care of, even if it may seem secondary. But sometimes, you don't have the knowledge you need to make the right decisions. At Bernier & Associates, we advise and support you in your efforts. Our professionals are there to help you in the event of an insolvent estate in Ottawa, Gatineau, Abitibi, Montreal, East Ontario or in any of our 15 offices. Do not hesitate to contact us for all your questions or to entrust us with your case.

What is an Insolvent Estate?

An insolvent estate is one where the liabilities (debts) are greater than the assets (property). In other words, the liquidation of all the assets does not pay off all the debts.

It is essential not to rush but to consider all possible options first: if you accept the estate, you also inherit all the debts and become liable for them.

What is Considered a Liability in an Estate?

All debts related to the deceased are included in the liabilities of an estate:

  • Bills that have not been paid (credit cards, lines of credit, consolidations)

  • Income taxes

  • Retail sales tax including goods and services tax (for self-employed workers)

  • Endorsement or co-signature to guarantee debts

  • Rent including utilities

  • Responsibilities as a director of a corporation

If you find yourself in a difficult situation because of your debts, you can combine your credits with the debt consolidation.

What Are the Options for the Heir or the Executor?

If you inherit an insolvent estate in Ottawa, there are several options available to you. It is crucial to carefully evaluate each of them before making decisions that can significantly impact your financial standing.


Accepting the estate: By choosing to accept the estate, you not only inherit the assets but also assume responsibility for the debts. Prior knowledge of the deceased's financial situation is advisable before making this commitment.

Refusing the estate: If you choose to do so, you must register your renunciation by notarial act. You have 6 months to accept or refuse an estate. If there is no notarized document stating that you refuse the estate, you will be deemed to have accepted it.

Declaring bankruptcy for the estate: Another viable option is initiating bankruptcy proceedings for the estate. The services of a licensed insolvency trustee will then be required.

Whatever your choice, never forget that you should not accept an estate without thinking about it beforehand and receiving sound advice. Remember, informed decisions now can safeguard your financial well-being in the future.

Why Use a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

By entrusting the bankruptcy of the estate of a deceased person to a licensed insolvency trustee such as Bernier & Associates, you are relieved of an important administrative burden and certain obligations:

  • Delays are eliminated

  • The liabilities of the estate are no longer your responsibility

  • Disputes with creditors and possible legal proceedings are handled by the trustee

  • Objects that have more emotional than material value, such as family heirlooms, are usually given to you

  • In the case of an estate bankruptcy, the heir's finances are not impacted.

  • The trustee takes charge of the assets in order to liquidate them for the benefit of the creditors

  • Bankruptcy will have the effect of extinguishing all debts of any kind of the deceased

How Do You Know If the Estate Will Be Insolvent?

To get a clear picture of the financial situation left by the deceased person, you need an inventory of everything they owned (assets) compared to everything they owed (liabilities).


Assets include jewelry, precious metals, works of art, furniture, bank accounts, life insurance, real estate, etc.

Liabilities encompass credit card balances, personal and mortgage loan payments, unpaid taxes, etc.


If the total value of the assets can't pay off the debts, the estate is insolvent.

Consult Us for Insolvent Estate Solutions in Ottawa

Faire face à une succession insolvable peut être une situation complexe, difficile et stressante à gérer. Bernier & Associés possède l'expérience et les connaissances nécessaires pour vous guider dans votre prise de décision vers le meilleur résultat possible. Demandez un rendez-vous avec notre équipe pour discuter de votre situation.

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Entrust your accounting management to Bernier & Associates and reach your goals!

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