Inheritance law

On August 17, 2015, a new EU inheritance regulation will come into effect. Which changes will this eventuate for the owner of a property in France?

According to the present rules, succession of the house situated in France would be based on the French inheritance law.
Based on French law, immediately after the death, the children share in ownership of the possessions, which considerably limits the freedom of choice of the surviving spouse. If there is no will, the surviving spouse can opt either for usufruct of the entire estate or for full ownership of a quarter part.

As from August 17, 2015, succession and the settlement of international inheritances will be dealt with in a uniform manner in a large number of countries within the EU.

I will touch on the most important subjects.

Applicable inheritance law

By will a choice can be made of which law is applicable to the inheritance. Mind you, the choice is only between the law of the person’s habitual residence or that of their nationality.
Any choice of applicable law made before August 17, 2015 will remain valid.
If no choice has been made, the law of the habitual residence of the deceased at the time of death will be applicable. This means the social residence, linked to their social life.

European Certificate of Succession

By means of this certificate heirs, legatees and executors will be able to prove their status and rights in a different member country without further formalities. As a direct consequence, procedures will be faster, easier and cheaper.
So that is good news.

Inheritance tax

Does this also mean that French inheritance tax is no longer applicable?
Unfortunately not. Even after the date mentioned before, you will have to file a declaration with the French tax office.
In case the death occurred in France, you have to file the declaration already within 6 months.
Please note that payment of the inheritance tax has to take place at the same time. This can implicate a substantial drain on resources, especially for de facto partners but also for more remote relatives, as they fall under the 60% tariff…

 

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