Making a French will

Now it seems clear, post referendum, that British wills will not be accepted in France under EU regulations we are again conscious that we need to make a French will. The last time we tried the notaire said, after, so she said, consulting a knowledgeable colleague, that all our assets in the UK would be covered by our English wills and only our assets in France needed to be considered under French inheritance law. As this seemed, on the basis of advice received in the UK before we moved here, to be completely wrong we did not pursue it, particularly as the promised written advice never materialised. We left matters in the hope that the EU regulations would take care of the position.

We would rather not get inaccurate advice again and wondered if anyone on SFN could recommend a notaire in the Indre who might be able to advise us?

This is also being discussed under the Tax & social Charges heading…

may be something there to help you…

We have been going through all this in the wake of the introduction of the Brussels IV protocol in August 2015. The upshot is that you can now make a UK will stick in France (i.e. you do not get involved in the forced inheritance nightmare) but that your worldwide estate will still be liable to French inheritance tax if you are tax resident in France at the time of death.

Brexit (if it happens) will have no effect on this change as the UK is not a signatory of the Brussels IV protocol, but France is. The UK’s lack of succession laws means that there is/was no need for the UK to be involved in the process. The basic effect of using Brussels IV protocol is that a person resident in a country other than that of their citizenship (& that is a signatory to Brussels IV) can apply a will written under the laws of their citizenship country.

Getting around the inheritance tax problem is another matter. It’s all fine if you are leaving things to a spouse or natural children (the individual allowances are quite high) but once non-relations & third parties are involved (which includes stepchildren) then they will owe 60% to the state after the paltry approx. 1500€ allowance. It is they who are liable for the tax, not the estate (as would be the case in the UK) & the taxman isn’t interested in whether you have the actual funds or not - they are due in certain timescale. An inherited house might need to be sold to cover the tax, so inheritors would need to get it sold pdq or be very out of pocket.

All notaires should be able to give accurate advice about all this, & that advice is free (but they make up for that in their fees for actually doing anything!).

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Anyone have an idea what the fee might be for a basic no frills version?! There was me about to tootle along to have my UK will translated :confused: Would it apply though since my only asset is in the UK (currently)? Not intending to add a replacement spouse into the equation. Ever. My will also contains information about legal guardianship…should I pop off unexpectedly.

This site gives all the info about costs etc etc… very interesting

Thank you for this comprehensive, useful advice. We still need to be sure that the notaire we engage knows more about the subject than the one we consulted in Le Blanc and it would be reassuring to have a recommendation.

Stella, many thanks for this info. I still need to find a notaire whose knowledge of the subject is comprehensive and up to date. The one we consulted before was clearly no expert.


I know I keep pushing the Mairie at folk… but… why don’t you chat with the Secretary there…maybe give you a couple of names …leaving you to choose…

Some will not give a definite recommendation…for anything… but it’s amazing how helpful they can be…all depends on the approach…:grinning:

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Oh hey thanks…that isn’t scary at all is it. Brill Stella. I need to get onto that.
Also, I’m with you on how useful Mairie can be. I’ve found then super supportive over school and also being a tenant in the area. My agency isn’t exactly helpful!