Some things I didn't know about Donation entre Epoux

Went to see the Notaire today with some preconceived notions about DeE.
Some bad but mostly good.

Bad first. My share of my wife’s share of our house and possessions diminishes the older I get.
Although I don’t want to, this would make it even more impossible to return to live in England.

The 2 cars that were always in my name are part of the pot, she owned half of them because they were bought from our joint account. Not important but might be a bit more complicated if I wanted to sell them.

The costs of the gravestone and surrounds cannot be paid from her LEP so must be borne by me. Fair enough, half of that grave is mine to keep, one day. :smiley:

The good, My bank was wrong to say that Fran’s LEP savings account was totally frozen to me at the moment of her death. It is in fact only closed to me until the whole succession regarding her children is sorted out. That could be sometime but it doesn’t matter to me as I was not counting on that money anyway.

He confirmed that the funeral expenses can be paid directly by the bank to the Pompe Funebre from that account though, just as we thought, but once the succession is sorted the whole of what is left is mine because of my rights of usufrut until I die, so none of it goes to her children. Until I die. They, and I, were under the impression that the remainder of that account was split between us immediately, not so.

One of the things I was tasked to do to bring to this meeting was to list all details of her children, so that the succession can be formalised. Out of contact, by their choice, of the 2 sons and since 2 years, of the daughter, the only way to get this information was for me to write to the daughter. She, presumably sensing their monetary advantage, was quick to reply giving all details of names, dates of birth, dates of marriage, profession and bank detalis. In doing so, though it doesn’t matter to me, the details of the son in Ireland who changed all his details to avoid contact, has now given me everything.

However, something else has occurred to delay matters. The eldest son, who nearly died and was hospitalised due to alcoholism and then immediately sought refuge in the pub (he was there when I visited to try and regain contact last year so I never saw him) has not been able, apparently, to list his own details. The information came from his Dad, the father with whom he was estranged. This has given rise to the suspicion by the Notaire that he is not mentally competant and therefore may need some sort of guardian to act on his behalf. More delays

He gave me 3 tasks.
Get a valuation of the house and terrain, aleady started that with a message to the estate agent friend who sold it to us over 30 years ago.
Find the deeds to the house or, if I can’t, pay another €50 to the €50 already paid, for them to get copies themselves.
Try to find out by contact with the daughter and/or Fran’s 1st husband, what the situation is with the eldest son.

None of this affects me adversely apart from the cost of the headstone, so all in all a very good hour and a half spent. He even invited Jules into the office because he saw me walking him in the grounds while I was waiting. :joy:


Sounds like you are making progress David - well done!

And thumbs up to the Jules-friendly notaire!


It does sound as though you have an OK notaire.

Francis, our friend the estate agent who sold us the place 31 years ago has just left after doing a valuation at the bidding of the Notaire. It makes no difference to me what the figure he comes up with is because it is only for the Notaire to inform the 3 successors of their share on my demise.

I told you in another thread about my hoarding, and we all laughed, but that has depressed the price and furthermore he asked me if I will leave things as they are or buy them out. It hadn’t occurred to me to do this and it is something worth thinking about if the 3 of them see it as a way to get paid sooner or wait till I die at the grand old age of 100 +.

So I will wait 'till the succession is done and dusted and they are dismayed at getting nothing straightaway, and then make them an offer which I hope they can’t refuse.

BTW, for those who don’t know ‘ecureuil’ is the French word for hoarder. I like that, I have always liked those little rascals. :joy:

Apologies for being nosy but why might you want to use your cash to buy them out?
Is it to give you more options in case you ever wanted to move elsewhere?
Obviously don’t answer if you don’t want to.

At least 2 reasons. I rather resent the ease with which they profit from their mother’s death as they ignored her for so many years in life even though knowing how ill she was.

Secondly, to make the succession for my own 2 children easier. My son has long expressed a wish to one day live here, something that he could only do if he bought the others out himself, and he might not be in a position to do so, whereas I might be, now.

Although I knew French law when we came here and bought, proved by the eagerness that we embraced Donation Entre Epoux, to safeguard the ongoing life of the survivor, whichever of us it might be, I can’t say that I approve of it. As a general rule I do not approve of automatic inheritance, I prefer appropriate inheritance, but we are where we are so must make the best of it.

You make a good point about moving elsewhere though. It is a good thing that I have no desire to move from here because I am sure that, only actually owning half of my efforts over the years, there is no way that I could raise enough money to do so.

OK David, thanks for explaining.
I’m approaching retirement and wondering where to go next, if anywhere. Moving anywhere seems like such a hassle it’s tempting to just tart up the flat a bit and stay put.

I’m being nosy again. If moving was an option, would you move? And if so, where?

Sorry, I’ve just re-read your reply and realised you don’t want to move!

If nobody was nosey there wouldn’t be a forum, of course I don’t think that. There was a thread a short while ago asking for people’s 2nd choice, assuming France was the first, of places to live. My 2nd choice would be Australia, but times have changed, the last time I lived there I was told at immigration that as a British citizen I had the right to live there just as much as any Australian. Times have changed, long gone since British people were welcomed anywhere as of right.

I have been checking the post every day waiting for the arrival of the bill for Fran’s funeral. We have been told that we must give it to the bank to pay it directly from Fran’s savings account. I have had strict intructions from Marie-Paule to give it straight to her so that she can make sure it is all done correctly.

The bill arrived today in the post and I opened it to make sure that it was for the same amount as the devis.

A note at the bottom says in signed hand writing ‘Facture acquittee par virement bancaire le 02 Juillet 2024.’

Just going to check the joint account and my savings one to make sure they have indeed paid it from the correct one.