Change in Inheritance Law in France

Has anyone any views on this? Looks like the change in inheritance law in France is impacting on the previous views expressed here that one can elect to have one’s inheritance distributed according to a British will.

I did read about this in the French Press… of course, can’t find the article now. If I recall correctly, the reason put forward for the new Law, was to avoid the possibility of Females being cutout of inheritance or given dramatically less than Male heirs (which is the case with some nationalities…)…

Equality of the sexes and all that entails… this is another angle towards that end …

Seems aimed at property rather than funds… I think… but we could do with a French Legal Eagle giving us the fine detail.

Yes I’ve been following it as potentially impacts on us. I wouldn’t worry yet as it is being challenged.

Here article in Emglish:


We changed our Marriage Regime when we bought our house in France, so that if either one of us dies the other automatically inherits the whole of the estate.
As we only have two daughters and we wish them to share our estate equally, this should not cause any problems for us at all.
I can imagine that it could be difficult for others so, my advice is don’t die until all this is sorted out.


It can be. For example different numbers of children for each spouse from previous marriages.


I also saw that somewhere (ages ago) - I recall a discussion about not being able to cut children out of wills - there was a comparison to scotland where evidently you can’t…

As I’m not about to cut my kids out of any will I eventually might get around to making, I didn’t take too much notice. Well, not so far - they do say the first 21 years are the worst!

What I am aware of though is France inheritance tax will apply - I will need to go and get that strategy sorted - wonder what other people have done, and any recs for who to see?

e.g. would it be french financial advisors, french / UK advisors, just a french lawyer or a combination of the above?

Hi, we bought our house with a Tontine, that stated we bought under English laws of inheritance. Hence first death, everything to spouse. Second death, equally divided amongst children. Our english wills are written with covering letter to the effect that On our death English law is to be applied… It is my understanding, that this is still the case.

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We too were advised by a super competent notaire, sadly now retired, to buy in tontine. Which we did. The current account is M. OU Mme. So access after one dies. English wills,well, Welsh wills, stating each other as sole beneficiary with english law applying. I have recently contacted specialist solicitors, and due to my german estate, our english estate and our french estate it comes in at £3k-£5k. Have also followed the development here. Claims are that it contravenes EU law which overrides national law. So need to ask a whole lot of questions yet.

Seems that. We got that right then. I am a tad unsure about what percentage tax our kids would pay, but am taking that under advice.5

Isn’t a tontine completely overridden by getting married? We bought our first flat with a tontine as we were unmarried at the time and had a nightmare that should anything happen to us my mother would be living with his father (believe me - a nightmare!!).

The tax free amounts in France are pretty modest…I think kids only get €100,000 tax free. Here’s a link that sets it all out

Now we are a certain age, our approach to to put all spare money into assurance vie to avoid inheritance tax. Ok interest rates are not the best, but safe and tax free works for us.


spare money…

Yippee… had the DWP payment for November zapped into my CA bank account… 15 euros more than last month…

Assurance vie - yep to invest (igate) . And yes, it’s a 100K limit (but for each kid??) - less than UK 400.

Thanks for the reminder assurance vie

Solicitor set up Tontine 18 years ago for us to buy with UK inheritance laws to apply. Ages 78 and 72, dont think we will Re Marry, I think its changed a bit since we bought, but twas all the rage then. Either a Tontine, or buy as a company. Thanks for link kids woukd be very happy with 100K.

Although the article says that it will take years for it to be repealed. Does it apply until then?

“where the foreign law applicable to the succession does not allow any reserved mechanism for the protection of children”

In Germany there is a provision, but they are only entitled to a quarter, not a half, as in France. Is this considered enough?

It’s all a bit worrying.

My current solution is to aim to leave nothing! Which is not entirely tongue in cheek.

We have helped the those of the next generation that we wish to help already, and they are in their 30s now so on their own two feet. As it would be nice to be able to leave something for the following generation I have made them beneficiaries of my assurance vie. There may be something left in it, or there may not….

I am currently rethinking the rest (basically our house) and with all this fuss until it is resolved it seems simpler just to give it to charity!