Help! Probate woes

Hi everyone. I wondered if anyone out there could offer some advice?

My Father worked for airbus in France but was forced to return to the U.K. with health issues and sadly passed away in late 2011. I had no stomach for dealing with the probate for a good year or so but he left my brother and I an inheritance that was unfortunately in his french bank account.

Long story short: I've had endless woes first actually convincing the bank he was dead then trying to claim the funds. I used a French/English solicitor and managed to get all the necessary documentaion in order but the bank still won't release the funds, nor give me any reason as to why - they have simply stopped communicating.

After some 2 and a half years of dealing with this I've pretty much reached the end of my tether. The solicitors aren't too great either taking weeks to reply to my emails. is there any legal recourse I can make to compel the bank to release what is rightfully mine and my brothers?

Any advice would be very gratefully received,

many thanks,


That seems to be borne out by the evidence! Many of the houses round here (mine included) have old headstones or other tomb fragments in their gardens, having been uplifted when the original owners no longer wanted to pay for the prolonged ground space rental. I reconstructed a quite nice granite pedestal and put a cherub on top of it as a focal point! Personally I prefer cremation and scattering to the winds (or whatever) which is much cheaper and more romantic. Cemeteries always seem such soulless places. BTW the Mairie in each commune publishes a list of cemetery prices each year.

Hi David,

Interesting info you gave link to. Do I understand it correct though, that your grave is only "yours" for 10 -99 years depending on what you paid for ?

I don't understand why you are, or rather were, in communication with the bank. Your solicitor should have taken care of that, or mandated another solicitor/notaire for you in France. In actual fact, the bank has no right to communicate with you, apart from telling you that they can't tell you anything and that you need legal help and it makes perfect sense that they have stopped answering you. Something isn't right, and it isn't the bank…..

Good luck

You might take a look at Anglo Info France too!

I know somebody who had a similar problem here in France- the family were in the UK. It took $ years I'm afraid to tell you. There were long gaps of total inactivity by the notaire. But bear in mind I'm reporting a firm of solicitors in the UK to the Legal Ombudsman for far worse. These people are dreadful. The only thing you may be certain is that they will make sure that they get their pound of flesh! Yes in France it has to be a notaire.

As far as I know (from personal experience) you need to go to a notaire with all his papers (death certificate , will , etc) The bank is not allowed to release the funds until they have the go-ahead from the notaire as to who are the heirs , how many there are of them and what their share should be . Good luck ...

The French bank will have a "mediateur" to whom you should write to first, if you do not get any joy then

you can contact:-

Fédération Bancaire Française also have a Médiateur in place, whom you can contact at Fédération Française des Bancaires, 18 rue La Fayette, BP 151, 75422 Paris, Cedex 09 or e mail at

this, to my knowledge is "similar" to the UK Banking Ombudsman...