Gift of a French Property

Following French estate planning, you might have decided to gift your property, or part of it, to your children, to reduce their French inheritance tax liability. Or, perhaps, you might have decided to gift your share of the property to your spouse for UK tax reasons/liability.

A French notaire will have to be involved since they have a monopoly over the transfer of ownership of a French property. You can usually use the notaire who dealt with your French property purchase since they would already have the title deed which would avoid having to obtain one from the local land registry.

The notaire will need various documents and information such as copy of your passport, the donee/beneficiary’s passport, birth certificates, etc. The notaire will carry out the compulsory searches against the property and, upon receipt of the searches, the notaire will draft the deed, powers of attorney and a date of completion can be fixed.
If there is an existing mortgage registered against the property, the bank will probably refuse this transfer of ownership, until you have repaid it entirely.

The notaire’s fees will be due at that point – these include the publication’s fees at the land registry, and would be about 6% of the value of the property. It is something to bear in mind when budgeting for the gift. The fees are usually paid by the donee/beneficiary, but you could agree to pay these.

It is also important to note that the beneficiary could be liable to pay French gift tax. This depends as to the relationship between the donor and the beneficiary. Between a parent and a child there is a tax allowance for 100,000€ and between spouses/partners in a civil partnership it is 80,724€.  Above these, there are various sliding scales for the gift tax applicable. Your French lawyer would have advised you about these before you go ahead with the gifting.
(amount of tax allowances correct for 2020)

French Property Legal Services provides advice and assistance on all aspect of such transfer of ownership:

• Appointing and liaising with the notaire
• Assembling the file for the notaire
• Advising you on the documents needed
• Actively chasing the notaire to speed up completion of the transfer of ownership
• Advise you on the taxes due for this change of ownership if any are due
• Reviewing and providing you with a detailed report on the deed/ acte de donation
• Arranging for powers of attorney and assisting you for their execution
• Obtaining a copy of the signed deed so that so that you have proof of the transfer of ownership

All of the above is included in our highly-competitive fixed fee package. Please contact us for further information, or of you have any questions.

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