So you’ve been named a tutor for minor children in a will – what next? 

You may have unexpectedly discovered that you hold the role of tutor or perhaps someone has asked if they can appoint you as tutor. Either way, you’re likely wondering what the role of tutor means for you. In this article we’ll cover all the basics of tutorship in Quebec and what you need to know about the role.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What Is A Tutor For Minor Children In Quebec?

A tutor is a person (or people) who are named in a will who will assume responsibility of a minor child or children if their parents pass away. They are typically a family member or close friend of the testator (the person who created the will). 

In many other Canadian provinces, this role is called a ‘guardian’ or ‘custodian’.

Why Would Someone Name Me As A Tutor For Their Children?

It’s difficult to think about a situation where a young child loses their parents, but this is the time when a legal tutor would step in. If you were named as a tutor, this means that the parents are trusting you to provide for and raise their children if they are no longer around.

They’ve likely selected you based on traits such as your values, educational style, location, parenting style, and other qualities and have decided you’d be the best fit to raise their children. While they hope you will never need to step into the role, they are giving themselves peace of mind knowing that their children will be taken care of.

In the event a tutor is not named in a will for their children, the courts will appoint someone for them.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Tutor For Minor Children?

In Quebec, there are two main responsibilities of a tutor – caring for the person (ie. custody, housing, daily responsibilities) and managing the patrimony (ie. property, assets, inheritance).

In Quebec, parents can appoint multiple tutors to manage the patrimony, but only one person (or couple) to assume physical custody. A will made with Willful appoints one tutor for both custody of the person and managing the property and assets.

The specific responsibilities may vary depending on the age of the children and their unique situation. However, you can expect the responsibilities to include providing an education, shelter, and food and more. 

Most parents are expecting their chosen tutor to raise their children according to their wishes. If you know ahead of time that you are being appointed as a tutor, it is a good idea to discuss expectations with the parents. This can be a difficult conversation, but some important things to consider include:

  • How would they like their children raised?
  • What values are important to them?
  • How would they like you to use the funds left for the children?

This is also important information to help you decide if you think you’ll be a good fit for the role of tutor.

What Are My Financial Responsibilities As A Tutor?

In the will that names the tutor, it will typically also outline that the tutor will use the money held in trust for the children to fund ongoing care. This can include anything from education to  food and shelter. The liquidator (or estate trustee) is responsible for monitoring requests for funds to ensure they align with the wishes in the will

The testator may choose to allocate money to a tutor as a gift for taking on the role but this is not always the case.

When Would I Take On The Role Of Tutor?

If you are named the tutor for a minor child in a will, you will step into the role upon the death of the parents. 

Do I Have To Accept The Role Of Tutor?

No – even if you are named as tutor in a will, you are allowed to decline. Accepting the role of tutor and stepping into a parenting role is a huge responsibility and can drastically affect your life. If you are unable or unwilling, you can choose not to accept. This is true whether you find out ahead of time or even if you find out after the parents have already passed away.

At Willful, we recommend parents always name a backup tutor – just in case their initial choice is unable to take on the role. That being said, if you find out ahead of time that someone would like to name you as a tutor for their children, you should let them know sooner rather than later. This gives them the chance to choose another person and update their documents.

Learn more about choosing a tutor for your children in Quebec →

Please note that Willful is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. All information in our Learn Centre is general and public information can also be researched through your provincial Attorney General website.