French Estate Planning and French Wills

If you own a property in France or are in the process of purchasing one, it is important to seek legal advice on French estate planning and French Wills. Effectively, it is French inheritance law and French Inheritance taxes/income tax which will apply to your French property and these are very different from the UK.
It is best to choose the ownership structure for your French property before completion of the purchase, to ensure the property passes in accordance with your wishes with minimal French inheritance taxes. French estate planning advice is included in our fixed fee for advice on a property purchase.

If you already own the property but have not received estate planning advice at the time of the purchase, you can still change the ownership structure of the property and have French Wills but some option such as the tontine clause will no longer be available.

If you move to France, not only will the French property be subject to French inheritance Law and French taxes but also your worldwide movable assets, it is therefore paramount to receive the appropriate legal advice.

We provide solutions to French Inheritance issues, depending on your personal situation and what you want to achieve, there is no “one size fits all”.

Following French Estate planning advice you may need some French Will or change the ownership structure of your French property such as changing your matrimonial regime; setting an SCI (i.e. a French fiscally transparent company) to own the property, etc. which we will be able to assist you with.

It is recommended to have a separate French Will dealing solely with your French property/ French estate. This will ensure the Will is applicable in France and that your wishes can be respected. It will also avoid added difficulties and cost for your loved ones since they would not need to have the English Will translated and both the English and French estates can be dealt with separately with its respective Will.

French notaires tend to recommend a French Will called donation au dernier vivant and present it to you as enabling the surviving spouse to inherit from the first deceased. However, if you have any children, the surviving spouse would only inherit the disposable portion (such as  one quarter share, two thirds or one half depending on the number of children you have), which is usually not appropriate for British owners. Thus, it is best to seek legal advice from a professional understanding the interaction of French and English Law.

We can draft a French Will; there are different format which can be used, depending on your wishes and personal circumstances, which would be valid under French Law.

Please contact us so that we can give you additional information on our fee for the above. To contact us, please use the contact form here, or email us on the link below:

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