Question on Wills

Would anyone give me an idea on what notaires charge for writing a will, or is it possible just to write our own?

This is already discussed and explained under

Legal Advice: Making a French Will

You will see that I have posted the French website which gives costs etc… very clear and helpful info…

Ours charged 80 euros but they were mirror wills and very simple.

I wrote my own and had it signed by 2 independent witnesses. Had a law clerk look it over when I was in UK and he said it was fine!

Ah, but did he understand French ???

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Yes…it is a very simple an uncomplicated will!

Mine’s very simple in content too and I wrote it by hand but my notaire gave me a template to copy to make sure I used the correct wording, and by the time I’d copied that, it didn’t look quite so simple any more! although I have to say, not nearly as jargon-y as UK wills usually are. But there were bits that I would never have thought to include, eg if you have a main beneficiary and smaller bequests to individuals, eg items of furniture, apparently you have to specify which room of the house those items are in, and also whether any costs in administering the small bequests are to be borne by the main beneficiary or by the individuals. I was also told to attach copies of the beneficiaries’ passports. A French oleographic will shouldn’t be signed by witnesses, but it is essential that you write the date when you wrote it.

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Also had my will registered at the Le Fichier Central des Dispositions de Dernières Volontés - the national will depository near Aix-en-Provence (used to be in Nantes). Pretty good service - and you can request copies of wills for around 18€.

My notaire said that as a British citizen, I have the right to choose either English law or French law for my will and inheritance.

Not sure how that will work after Brexit though? Any advice?

Hi Richard…

Brexit will make no difference… as far as I can see.

If you run through the other Legal Advice: “WILL” threads … this has already been discussed.

sounds as if your Notaire knows what he is talking about :relaxed:

You Heirs will NOT be able to avoid French Inheritance Tax though… but I am sure he will have explained that as well… (if not, ask him) :wink:

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I agree with your comment to Somnus and the advice I have received is do not use anybody other than a French notaire to draw up your will if you are an expat.

Stella - you advise that ‘Brexit will make no difference’. Can you explain why you say this, please?
The legal ruling that allows any expat living in one of the 28 EU countries to adopt the inheritance Law of their native country, is created by EU Regulation.
When Brits leave the EU, how, and why, can an English Will then be accepted in Austria, Germany - or France, or any other EU country?
Surely, the current EU Regs do not cover the potential for exit from the Union. That’s just one of the 000’s of details to be discussed (The idea of ‘negotiation’ which the Press repeatedly use, seems inappropriate to me!).

Melou…I think you will find this an interesting link.

French Resident (UK National) can choose to bequeath his Estate under UK Inheritance Rules, provided the Will is drawn-up including specific legal wording to say this, by the Notaire !

However, “Matters of inheritance tax law are excluded from the scope of the Regulation.” which means that the heirs (or the Dogs’ Home) cannot escape paying French Inheritance Tax.

Re: Cross-Border Succession:… I quote:

“Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom do not participate in the Regulation. As a result, cross-border succession procedures handled by the authorities of these three Member States will continue to be governed by their national rules.”

So…Brexit will not affect the current situation… in my view…

But if the regulations only apply to Member States (is that the case?), then once the UK ceases to be a Member State, that would appear to be the end of that.

It does NOT matter, whether or not the country of Nationality is a Member State.ésidence-à-létranger

Peut-on désigner une autre loi ?

Désormais, une personne peut choisir comme loi régissant l’ensemble de sa succession la loi de l’État dont elle possède la nationalité. La loi choisie peut être celle d’un Etat membre (partie au règlement) ou celle d’un Etat tiers, le règlement ayant un caractère universel.

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That answers it - thank you Stella :+1:

Am I missing something here, Stella? The UK government declined to ‘participate in the Regulation’ (for reasons which were never explained, as far as I ever read) - the effect of this is that if a French person (or citizen of any other member state) is fiscally domiciled in the UK they have no choice - UK Inheritance Law (and taxes) will apply to their estate, and they are expected to write a Will conforming to UK practice.
But this has no effect on a Brit domiciled in France, because France signed up to the EU Regulation. Therefore, logically, when the UK leaves EU membership we will not come under any EU Regulation any more - other than those which are eventually mutually agreed upon as part of the Brexit negotiations. Nobody knows if this will include any cross-border succession agreement - it may well become one of the many individual Treaties that Britain will agree with individual countries, rather than a blanket deal covering 27 countries.

The link is interesting in another way, however - it identifies that the European Assembly decided against a blanket Regulation in this instance, and said instead that member countries should use their own legal systems as the framework within which the Inheritance Law of another country is administered. Sounds sensible on the face of it - but in practice the problem here is that notaires have not received any adequate guidelines to help them do this; and in my current experience, can consequently be over-cautious in accepting the terms of an English Will. They simply do not know how the Impôt will interpret it - they may, basically, just decide that the whole thing is designed to be a tax dodge, and disallow some of the provisions.

But UK succession law is pretty unrestrictive so it’s not really an issue, is it. I think the issue was particularly for those with French property or resident in France, because French succession law really is restrictive and used to cause a lot of problems for people.

It makes no difference to succession taxes. There’s no question over how the impôts will interpret it, they’ll apply succession law in the usual way. So whilst in theory you are now able to leave your entire estate to a non relative in preference to a relative, in practice the non relative would be taxed so heavily that you wouldn’t do it. Although I’m sure the fisc would be more than happy to let you, if you wanted to…


I am stating the case for a UK National who is Resident in France…

Also, if you follow my link to the site… you will find that Notaires are very well aware of what the Laws are… and how Inheritance can and should be dealt with.

However, if you now want to know about someone who is Resident in UK, but who has a Foreign (ie not UK) Nationality…that is a different ballgame…

As I understand things: The UK Inheritance Laws apply to any UK Resident, no matter what their Nationality… with or without Brexit… UK Inheritance Laws are NOT affected… why should they be ??

Stella - I’m still not with you on this!
The Regulation we are concerned with has been created by the European Assembly, in order to provide flexibility in inheritance matters for all of us born in any of the 28 EU countries. 3 countries did not want to join in - but we are concerned with the situation in France, which accepted the Regulation. The question is about a UK national, resident in France.
The current situation is that you can write a Will according to English Law, which will become valid in France on your death, because that’s what the EU Regulation has enabled you to do. All of the links that you quote from refer to the position of a French person in the same situation. The paragraph from the notarial guide you quote from - “Can you designate another law?” sets out the rights of a EU citizen - but the question we are trying to answer is "What happens when you are not a member of the EU?"
That’s the different ballgame that we are dealing with. __