The conditions of thermal decomposition of the 3-chlorobenzoates of Y, La and the lanthanides from Ce(III) to Lu have been studied. The complexes of La, Pr(III), Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb(III) and Dy were prepared as heptahydrates, those of Ce(III) and Y as pentahydrates, that of Nd as the tetrahydrate, that of Ho as the dihydrate and those of Er, Tm, Yb and Lu as anhydrous salts. On heating, these complexes decompose in three or two stages. They first lose some water molecules and then decompose to oxides through the intermediate formation of LnOCl. Cerium(III) 3-chlorobenzoate loses its crystallization water in two stages and yields the anhydrous salt, which is then transformed directly into CeO2. All these complexes melt before decomposition in the temperature range 441–513 K.