When a couple marries or enters a civil union in Quebec, a “Family Patrimony” is created and the family patrimony terminates either with a divorce, a judgment of separation, annulment of the marriage, dissolution of the civil union or with the death of one of the spouses.
The family patrimony rules provide that specific assets accumulated during the marriage be partitioned equally between the spouses, no matter what property regime (partnership of acquests, separation of property, or community of property) applies to the marriage.
The family patrimony consists of the following assets:
- Family residence
- Secondary residence (e.g.: a chalet)
- Furniture decorating the family residence and the secondary residence, serving the use of the household;
- Vehicles used by the family
- Private pension plans
- Quebec Pension Plan
Although the family patrimony provides for an equal partition of the family assets, there are certain exceptions to this rule. A donation that is invested in the family patrimony by either acquiring an asset or reducing a debt attached to an asset in the family patrimony will give the right to a deduction in the value of family patrimony.
In order to prove a donation, it is important to establish the link between the donation and the acquiring of the asset and/or the payment of the mortgage. The spouse asking for the deduction will have the burden of proof to establish that the donation was actually used for an asset in the family patrimony.
As an example, if a donation received is used to pay the daily expenses of the family such as food and electricity, this does not give the right to a deduction of the value of the family patrimony.
It is important when receiving a donation to keep a detailed accounting of the amounts received, and also to consult your lawyer to discuss the impacts of the donations on the partition of the family patrimony and to discuss how to protect your donations.
Gianina Fuschini, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier Avocats inc.