Will for co-habitating couple

I wonder if someone can advise us. We are an unmarried couple who purchased a house in France 2 years ago, that we use as our holiday home. The property is jointly owned with a 70/30 split. Between us we have 4 children, but none with each other. If either one of us dies does the other automatically inherit the others share? If we both pass away do you children get equal shares, or based on the share of the 70/30 split? I think we should make a will. Should I go to a Notaire in the first instance? Any advice would be much appreciated we won’t be back in France until post Brexit and I’m sure that will have a bearing on the law?

If you aren’t married you are deemed to be strangers and you won’t inherit anything from each other. Your children will inherit from you, or your brothers/ sisters/parents will inherit from you.


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Véro’s alread said it, you really must get professional advice on this. France is so different to the UK. Best get PACS’d if you want each other to be “recognised” by French law, or married if you want to go the whole hog, but again, seek professional advice :wink:

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Pacs doesn’t mean inheritance rights though, just the use of the shared (up to death) domicile for one year.

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If you are UK residents then I think you need to find a british lawyer who is experienced in cross-border issues. You could have both a UK will for your UK assets, and a French will for your french house. But the lawyers and notaire we consulted said that could cause problems and best just to have one in the country of your residence. However IT MUST be someone who understands the french legal system.

And hang on to any papers that show that you contributed 70/30 to the initial purchase.

There are 2 issues - firstly, who can inherit; secondly, how much tax they will pay if they do. Anything inherited from a non-relative is subject to 60% inheritance tax. This would apply to anything either of you inherits from each other, to anything his children inherit from you, and to anything your children inherit from him.
So even if it is theoretically possible to arrange things so that you inherit your partner’s share and all the kids get equal shares of everything (by opting to use a UK will), you might not want to. It might be better for each of you to simply leave your own share to your own children.

Definitely consult a notaire.

As non-residents french inheritance tax will only apply to the french house, not their other assets. But still an important consideration!

I tend to believe that everyone with kids should make a will.

Quite, Véro, but it does allow you to pass on (part, let’s not forget the children) your estate to your partner with no inheritance tax. Again - need to take professional advice :wink:

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