PACS and tax for same sex couple

My same sex partner and I are both pensioners without dependants and are planning to sell up in the UK and buy a property in France. During 35 years together we have never felt an urge to marry or enter a civil partnership – (so much for romance). I think we will need professional advice about whether or not to enter into a PACS (or marriage) as French inheritance tax may clobber one of us at some point, although we have few assets apart from a property.

If anyone has any thoughts on or experience of this area I would be very grateful.

I did see a similar thread here from a couple of years ago but things may have moved on since then.

It's certainly looking more complex than I first thought Shirley. The thought that a UK will just might not be adhered to points me to getting professional advice. Thanks to everyone for their input.

My understanding of the new law, as told to me by local Notaire last Autumn, is that yes your British WILL can take precedence over a French will if you are a British National. The British Will must be done and notarised by an English Solicitor and there must also be a copy of it in French for the French Notaire to ensure your British xWILL does take precedence over a French one.

Other wise perhaps? it’s possible with no French Will - never mind the English one, the Notaire may just apply,French Law as it stands at the time. Its complicated! I suggest you see if you can find a lawyer in UK who knows and understands both English & French Law, he/she could possibly do the whole lot for you. I know there is a firm in,Ipswich Suffolk who used to advertise their bilingual knowledge. Perhaps several of the larger multicultural UK cities have one or more also.
Your inheritance tax question has been replied to.

Thanks Ley

I think a CP in the UK seems a great idea Simon thanks.

Exactly, Mandy, you can have a UK will (under UK inheritance law) but will still be taxed in France (at 60% if you'r enot pacsed or married ;-)

I don't think that's the case. I believe you can chose the inheritance laws of your country of origin or country of residence but you will be taxed according to the laws of the country where you are resident for inheritance tax purposes. Anyone writing a will in France or in the UK needs proper advice from experts in order to get it right.

That should say Good luck Tim. :slight_smile:

I thought that from now, expats in EU can choose whether to be taxed at death either by the country they now live in or by their country of origin. It must be written out in a will. And I would think as a safeguatd, in front of a lawyer. Good luck Tomorrow

My husband and I formed a Civil Partnership in the UK (and have subsequently converted to marriage in Dec 2014). Both CP and same-sex marriage are recognised in France now. If you have not yet moved to France it may be less bureaucratic to consider a CP in the UK (or S/S-marriage if you prefer). As mentioned below, marriage in France is very complicated if you are not French by birth as the Mairie requires all sorts of documents (and for the documents to be translated into French and certified - big headache!).

You will definitely need to have something to recognise you as partners to avoid the surviving partner getting clobbered for 60% inheritance tax.

Friends of ours journeyed back to the UK to have their CP ceremony - a very low-key affair: their witnesses were staff at the registry office, no guests, and after the paperwork was done, they went for fish and chips for lunch to celebrate, then came back to France.

Good luck with the move to France.


We will definitely be signing up to pleasehelp as they are so highly recommended here - thankyou Liz.

Why not try

they have just helped me sort out my declaration for tax as french resident to stop the uk taking heaps of loot from our private pension.

my understanding too, Véro

of course they will, no worries ;-)

But what about those of us who are married in the UK? We had our CPA converted to a marriage license in Dec. 2014, and have been married since 2005. Will the French recognise our UK & American marriages?

No, there isn't, you are taxed in exactly the same way as far as I can see (I am pacsed but I have been married).

Thank you Mandy for that thought - I wonder if there is any difference between PACs and marriage from the tax point of view.

I had not thought about the income tax Véronique - thank you.

You mentioned marriage in your post. If you do decide that marriage is the way to go then I suggest you do it in the UK before you come to France. Having got married myself here in France the paperwork required is a total nightmare and I would avoid it at all costs. Best of luck whatever you decide to do.

Getting pacsed is a good idea and not just because of the inheritance tax, you will also pay less income tax & if one of you dies the other won't find himself slung out (which is what will happen when the deceased's nasty second cousin Gertrude moves in having inherited everything, seeing if you are neither pacsed nor married then you are no relation at all).