English will

OK so as we are married if one dies the other half passes to the other without involving the kids with no tax to pay as we are married?

depends on how you make your Will… if not… French Inheritance means that the kids are entitled to their share on the death of a parent…

but the kids can exercise a usufruit ensuring that surviving parent can remain in the property in their lifetime.

Moral of the story is, don’t fall out with your kids :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Yes marriage trumps a tontine…

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I’ve known situations where the “kids” have not been “helpful/caring” towards their surviving parent. Very sad, difficult times when this happens.

We’ve been here long enough to know the families very well… and it’s been a great shock to us, how badly this can pan out… albeit perfectly legal but, even so, sad to see …

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Under normal but that is why we chose tontine. I must admit with a 3 or 4 month old I didn’t look at the rules as carefully as I should have!

Phew, so no tax then?

Thank you all for your wonderful help and informative comments.
booked an appointment to see my notaire ( who luckily speaks a little english)
ill keep you posted as to what happens - as long as im not shot down !
there seems to be many options, and it all depends on circumstance i gather.
its time to get all of this actioned now. hopefully its encouraged others to do the same too.
i believe its all set fee’s at the notaire. so well worth tidying up loose ends.

on the 2.00 am chunnel tomorrow - coming home after working in UK…16 hours door to door.
ill be mulling over all the advice as i head home.

We are both on our 2nd marriages. She has 3 kids and I have 2. Many years ago we made a Donation Entre Epoux at a local notaire’s.

This means that when the first of us dies the survivor’s children inherit half the estate between them, but cannot exercise that right until the 2nd of us dies. So the survivor cannot be forced to sell.

Thus Fran’s 3 inherit 1/6th each and my 2 1/4 each. We think that my son may well be the only one interested in the property, possibly to live in, so he knows that he might have to negotiate with the other 4 to purchase their shares.

We have a son with learning disability and we wanted him to inherit via a trust - couldn’t be done in French law. It was all sorted out via this firm of solicitors Ashtons Legal, based in Suffolk and Norfolk. The contact details are Matthew Cameron, 0800 917 0291, matthew.cameron@ashtonslegal.co.uk.

Hope this helps,

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Check out Managing a cross-border inheritance in the EU - Your Europe. I have no information on application of European Certificate of Succession following Brexit. Notaires may not be upto date. There are a few avocats who are also members of the Bar in England. I would consider very carefully any UK company - who cannot be notaires in France even if their staff have are academically qualified, nor are the staff registered UK solicitors.

My understanding is that you can write in your own hand a “french” will, sign it with date and location, it does not need to be witnessed, it does not need to be registered in the legatees lifetime. If you and your partner in agreement this may suffice. (In UKMirror wills can be prepared where all the estate is left to the successor and then is divided between beneficiaries as agreed)
Complications arise where there are children but not from the partnership. I understand that French practice provides for a partner to have habitation rights during the survivors lifetime. https://www.notaires.fr/en/donation-succession/succession/order-succession-and-inheritance-tax may help

If a Notaire recommends Hague Convention read it carefully (there is an English translation) it may not be appropriate where the partnership is legally married under English law.

Hope above helps in your research.

Hi Karen, I read your post and had no idea that it was even possible to override French succession. Was it simple enough to do?

Right - so an update.

i met my notary 2 days ago; and this is the advice ive been given.
ill give a bit of personal background, as i know some of this effected the advice.
my wife and i have been married for 13 years, i brought 2 children into the marriage, and she bought 1. we have none together ( never again !! snipped 2 weeks after marriage !)
we bought our house in france in 2017; joint 50% each.

when i met the notaire she said that the only way around any 60% tax for children’s inheritance was the following:

i need to buy 16% of the house from my wife ( this is possible as we have not had it for over 10 years - dont ask me the french law on that) so then i owe 2/3rds and my wife 1/3rd.
thats step one, regardless of the following:

then we set up 2 wills, one each.
mine deals with my share, the 2/3rds, and my wife deals with hers.
what that basically means, is that the first person to die, leaves their own children their own share - so avoids the 60% tax fully legally; but we also give eachother what she called ’ Usufruit’.
which means that the surviving partner has the full right to occupy, live, rent out, do anything they like; but they cant sell without the full permission of the surviving child or children.
then upon death of the remaining parent or partner, the last share of the estate is passed on to their child or children, and thus avoids the 60% tax legally.
the 60% tax is apparently a tax paid to inheritance on 3rd parties; as a step child would be deemed.
so in my case - my 16% of the house value, plus registered notaire fee’s is approx £30k.
so my wife needs a sole euro account, and so do i. as it has to be sent and paid by 2 accounts in our sole names. we have those anyway, with Wise. so thats done.
as per the £30k - ill work on that, and let you know when the deal is done.
‘bare ownership’ is the division of the property now…
i really hope that helps some.
im gonna move forward with that advice; im sure ill recieve lots of opinions, but i have to trust somewhere; after much research.

i think peace in older life is very important; on a second marriage maybe more so - as its more complicated when you have sole parent children.

back to work in uk now - and to news that one of my vaccines isnt accepted for the green passport. phoned my doctor in uk, no chance of a 3rd. im hear in UK for 4 weeks…so ill keep you posted on progress of that.

also, great meeting with Bezier Prefecture. all sorted, card in 3 weeks…apparently…

link my notaire gave me

That actually sounds like a rather neat solution! Does owning a property for more than 10 years make it completely impossible to alter the shares?

But certainly a useful thought for people with complicated families who are about to buy a property here.

Very simple. All you need to do is state that you with English Law to apply.

Hi Jane

it seemed it to me too. a solution for my wife and i anyway.
my notaire wanted to know when we got married and when we bought the house…
then did a rather complicated equation and went to check a notaries hand book.
then said with a smile, you are in good news !!!
so im sure there is some correlation - but even after asking her, i was none the wiser…
i think she said that if we had owned it more than 10 years as equal shares - then we couldnt ‘sell’ to eachother…but thats my recollection after a rather long conversation flipping in and out of my poor french, and also her poor english - but she is still far more bilingual than me !
i took 5 of her cards, and gave them to 5 friends in france ( all english) who have lived there for years and dont have wills !! and kids, and step kids etc etc…anyway; its taken me 50 years to write one…or at least start the process.
i encourage all to at least explore the options.

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We have what we hope will be a solution to a complex family situation, but not as neat as yours!

But yes, every home should have a will and their notaire should know about it whether a UK or French will.