Advice Needed - is a Notaire enough or should I also have an English Solicitor

Hi. I posted this blog earlier but it seems to have got lost - we are currently in the process of buying. We have an English speaking French Notaire but is this enough - could I please ask you to help us with your experiences - do we need to engage an English Solicitor.... help and advice would be appreciated.


Christine & Nicholas

Dordogne - a place called Montcaret. Can't wait for it to be sorted and our new life begins.

I am glad that you found this useful.

We live in the Clunysois of Southern Burgundy, in the Saone-et-Loire, between Cluny and Charolles.

Where are you planning to buy?

this is brilliant - thank you so much Jane that's incredibly helpful. where about's do you live??

@ Christine, I have looked up the relevant papers from when we bought the house. Here we go.

I am reading from the e-mail sent by Matthew Cameron our English Solicitor.

"I shall look first at the change of regime, this being the shorter of the two documents. It is possible that the notaire will want you to complete the acte de vente first, since specific reference is made to your new property. It is stated that you will be submitting this to the new regime of communaute universelle de biens, while otherwise remaining subject to English matrimonial law (this being equivalent to the French regime of separation de biens) for the remainder of your assets.

This change is completed, as you will recall, subject to the terms of the Hague Convention on matrimonial regimes, and accordingly extends only to the French real property. At the same time this also means that there are no registration formalities or court approvals necessary; the only formal procedure is that it would be registered at the French Foreigh Affairs Ministry in Nanters. The notaire will address this."

Designation dela Loi Applicable au Regime Matrimonial - Mise en Communaute des Immeubles Sis en France.

ClauseD'Attribution Integrale de Communaute.

It comes under l'article 1397 -3 alinea 2 du Code Civil et de l'article 1303 -1 alinea 2 du Nouveau Code du Procedure Civile, les epoux ou l'un d'eux feront inscrire au fins de co au repertoire civil annexe mentionne a l'article 4 -1 du decret no. 65-422 du 1 JUIN 1965 portant creation d'un Service central d'Etat Civil au Ministere des affaires etrangeres a NANTES,le certificat qui va etre delivre a cet effet par le notaire soussigne.

This only applied to the house, we have made English wills which will divide all our property equally between our two daughters. This extra procedure was to ensure that the French house passes to the surviving spouse entirely, with the children having no interest until the death of the surviving spouse.

I hope this is of use to you.

I was a bit put out that we didn't have any ceremony, just signing some papers at the same time we bought the house!

I'm sure our estate agent talked about a Tontine... and that it would cost us approx 200 euros to have it added into the contract... - but I take it Jane that you think that is now wrong??

I don't think we had a tontine, Sheila, it is a complete change of regime and comes under the EC.

Hi Christine. As I said in the live chat earlier, you should definitely check out and insist on the title being transferred to you from the seller, together with a "tontine", I think it's called. Best of luck.

Thanks both, our estate agent had told us about the need to add something into the contract re the 'upon death and the children' thing... and I believe we have to pay extra for that - but we will definitely do it.. they are welcome to it when we dead - but they're not getting their hands on it before

My husband is very risk averse and insisted we needed a french speaking english solicitor and we used Matthew Cameron (you can find him on the net). In the end we didn't need him, the purchase was straightforward, despite Monsieur Barraud dying after the compromis de vente. Our notaire was very good and spoke a little english. One thing I would advise is for you to investigate changing your marriage regime at the same time that you buy the house. This means that any surviving spouse inherites all on the death of the other spouse. If there is only one of you, would you want to go on living the way you do now, or would you want to sell and buy a smaller property of return to UK? This gives you the freedom to make your own decisions without having to consult and get the agreement of your children.

Good luck.

Normally fine with just a Notaire, its what they do.Unless its not a straight forward purchase and you have bonus in that he is English speaking, think also you will find that a UK solicitor will not have much idea of the French house buying system unless they are very expensive.

Good luck