Bereavement, Transfer of Property Joint Ownership to Survivor

My wife and I bought or French house in 2004 “Agissant Solidairement” which I believed at the time to be similar to the UK Joint Tenancy arrangement. The UK Registry Office transfer of our house to my sole name name was simple and free on the passing earlier this year of my wife. Her UK assets were minor and as Sole Beneficiary and Administrator I managed to receive them without problem and without Grant of Probate
What is the procedure in France?
My Notaire, the same firm through which we purchased the property, now wants proof that UK Probate is not required, copies of our Birth, Marriage and Death certificates, Passports, copy of UK will and French Will (prepared and Notarised by themselves), Statement of Assets. The Notary gave a garbled warning of the tax to be paid by myself on the transfer of ownership to myself.
I am extremely confused. Any offerings of clarification will be gratefully recived.

Stuart - may I offer condolences for your loss.

Secondly, as mentioned in another thread, I have been preparing a ‘handover’ document for my family in the event of my demise. I’ve pasted four extracts below in the hope that they may at least point you in the right direction.

Extracted from the document:
French Tax
If the deceased was a French tax payer or permanently resident in France, the local income tax office should be informed of the death, and within six months of the death, the survivor must provide the Declaration de Succession as well as the ‘Declaration des Revenus’. This is Form 2024N showing all income received by each member of the household between 1st January and the date of death. The notaire will normally complete and file these documents.

Wills & UK / French Laws
The implication is that under the 2015 EU Succession Regulation, even though we are French residents, our UK wills take precedence over French law.

Our possessions – and most importantly the house – is 50% owned by each of us.

Under UK inheritance law, there is no inheritance tax between spouses.

The notaire must therefore administer it in accordance with English law.

The appointment of the executor and their authority is derived from the will , not a court order or grant of probate.

In the UK, a grant of probate is often obtained from the High Court in order to confirm the validity of the will and to confirm who the executors are. However, this is limited to assets in the UK. If dealing with a UK will, notaires may request that a UK grant of probate be obtained for good measure.

Even so, where there are no UK assets that require a grant of probate, you can’t easily obtain one.

In those cases, notaires take a view as to whether to accept the will and the appointment of executors, perhaps together with an affidavit of law from a solicitor (certificat de coutume ) explaining the validity of the will and the executor’s authority to act.

Unless the estate is worth less than €5,000, within 7 days you must inform a notaire, who will be responsible for dealing with the succession and the issue of related certificates and determination in inheritance taxes, if due.

If the deceased has opted for the right that his/her will is subject to UK law, evidence of this must be provided to the notaire and it will be required for the will to be translated into French by an accredited translator, lists of whom can be obtained either from the mairie or at Traducteurs Assermentés.

A notaire may, however, decide to seek French court approval of the will and executor’s appointment by application for an ordonnance from a tribunal judiciaire. This is quite technical and costly.

The notaire may require an affidavit from a UK solicitor to confirm the validity and effect of the will. This would need to be translated with a certification and often an Apostille certificate of legalisation.

An Apostille is a certificate issued by a designated authority in a country where a treaty called the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents applies.

Regarding probate, it may be possible to ask a UK solicitor to sign a statutory declaration (translated into French) to confirm that:

*• a grant of probate is not always necessary, and does not apply to assets outside England and Wales; *
• the authority for an executor to act arises out of the will itself, not out of the grant of probate;
• and that a grant of probate cannot be issued unless there are assets in England and Wales in the deceased’s sole name requiring a grant.

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Thank you Nigel. Problem, maybe, we were not permanent Residents or Tax Payers in France, (second homers) there is an English Will and the necessary French Will for English Law to apply and I am the Sole Beneficiary. The named Executors have Renunciated their roles as Executors leaving me as Administrator, no need for Probate. Small English estate. It would appear that I will have to go back to the original Executors to get them to certify that all is in order, no Probate required, Deed of Renunciation is valid, I am the legal Administrator plus get everything translated.
Just shows how important and cost effective it is to get one’s affairs sorted before the event. Thanks again for your comments.