Making a Will in France

I've got to the stage where I need to think about making a legal and official will in France. Has anyone on SFN done this already and could perhaps advise the procedure or where to ask? Many thanks.

I was told by a Notaire that I didn't need a Will since I am not married and want my estate divided equally between my four children. The problem I foresee is that none of my children live in France. Without a Will how will any one know who my children are? Without a Will how will one of my children be able to come to France and settle all my accounts and sell my car?

We were warned about that by the notaire, although we had no intention of doing anything like that, but she was very emphatic about not imagining that everything can be given to charity because it simply does not work that way here. We didn't develop on that either but we believe it is worth finding out what NOT to do as Alexander is implying.

Thankyou for the various comments! It appears a simple document drawn up at my Notaire will fit the bill - I'm single, divorced with grown up children, recently retired, British but French resident and tax payer. I was informed that the 'droits de succession' as opposed to a donation of my property with usufruit to my children would amount to approximately the same thing - I'm more concerned with personal holdings such as stock market, bank accounts, paintings, furniture and antiques, and other which I would wish to bequeth to family members and friends in the event of my demise, and at the same time appoint an executor of the estate with his or her approval in advance. Therefore this isn't a question of who dies first or transfer of holdings outside France to avoid inheritance taxes.

Good advice. What is the position with joint accounts? We have not as yet bought here in France, and have placed our money in long-term savings accounts in both our names. At the moment, this money is in Ireland, so therefore would be (I believe) subject to Irish inheritance law, and have executed wills which are placed with our solicitor in Dublin.

Yes, follow Alexander and Liz's advice. Everything is in my wife's name to avoid complications, especially with our age differences and the fact that our older daughter with special needs may not be able to cope ever, we simply cannot predict. She made a will, I did not. In whichever order, the second death would be when property of any nature moves a generation. As our notaire reminded us, do not think house only but other valuables such as individual items like perhaps paintings, antiques, cars and so on - if you have them that is.

Hi, we made a handwitten will that our notiare has registered which is really simple. The slightly more difficult issue is what happens if you have kids as French law is directive on what percentage they get…however you can change your marriage regime to one that holds everything jointly, which will mean that the surviving spouse inherits and the kids get everything upon second death. There are some charges associated with this and also for reregistering the properties, but this second piece can be paid for after the death from the estate. Your best bet is to go to your notiare, get advice specific to you and your needs and go from there.