Family Law

“As a notaire, we are the tax and legal advisor of your family.”

In the international context it is even more important to rely on specialists.


Gifts of French property

A gift to your children either of the shares or of the property directly may be the most appropriate way for you to organise your estate in France. We will make sure that our clients fully understand the tax and inheritance implications with regards French law, (life use, “usufruit” or bare ownership “nue-propriété” are two ways of owning or gifting property which may need to be made clearly understood). We will also consider the issue from both the French and foreign legal and tax positions (for example, a gift of French property with “reserve d’usufruit” would be considered as a gift with reservation under UK law) and take into account the double tax treaties.

Careful consideration must be given to gifts of French properties or shares of property holding companies signed abroad. Indeed, considering the very low number of double tax treaties signed by the French government in relation to gift tax, a high risk of double taxation exists. Taxation on gifts may even never have any starting point (for example a gift with reservation), thus generating important penalties when the gift is not revealed to the French tax authorities notwithstanding its perfect legal value in the foreign legal/tax system.

Wills in France

French inheritance rules are very specific and although complex in appearance, can be explained in simple terms and solutions can be found. Our clients are often concerned about the position of compulsory heirship in France and French inheritance law in general. It is important to anticipate the questions of estate planning and tax planning. It is advisable to discuss the options to structure the purchase (SCI, purchase with children, PACS, tontine, change in matrimonial regime…) at an early stage in order to set up any necessary mechanisms and to minimise tax liability.

We listen to our clients to know their exact wishes, whilst asking pertinent questions concerning their individual circumstances. With our knowledge of French inheritance law and insight of inheritance law in other countries, specifically in the context of EU regulation and BREXIT, we are well placed to understand what our clients are trying to achieve and make sure that these expectations are satisfied. We draft French wills and other contracts and deeds regarding inheritance and tax planning with a taylor made approach.

PACS contract for partners in France

It is common now mainly for tax reasons (gift tax, inheritance tax), for unmarried couples to sign a French civil solidarity pact. Non residents should contact us to explore or check this route in relation to their personal situation.

Divorce in France

When a divorce involves French property, a judgement is made abroad and its effect has to be respected in France. The formalities include a deed being drawn up and the change of ownership being registered at the land registry. When considering the divorce process in France, the most appropriate route for transferring the property has to be chosen. We can advise you accordingly. It is important to get our advice regarding this as the tax consequences of the registration of an international divorce are often very high. In the process of a divorce it is often helpful to have a valuation from an independant expert.

Succession of French estate

The inheritance of French real estate used to be only governed by French law however this has changed with EU regulation. The situation of UK will remain uncertain due to the BREXIT and it is very important to consider this carefully when drafting a will in France or in the UK. We can deal with the required formalities for settling estates in France.

The settlement of an international estate is a specific and complicated legal and tax process. It is very important to have the advice of experts.

We will take in account any French or foreign will, Grant of probate, decree… and will liaise directly with a foreign lawyer to obtain the necessary paperwork. We can also prepare powers of attorney if the heirs cannot be present to sign the documents in person.

The inheritance tax in France is often significant and must be carefully anticipated either at the time of the purchase or when organising his will of gift.