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Inheritance in France

Inheritance in France

Updated on Monday 18th April 2016

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Inheritance-in-France.jpgThe inheritance rules in France establish the manner in which an individual may dispose of his or her assets and property after death. These rules apply for French residents and, to a certain degree, to non-residents who own property in France.
The focus point of the French inheritance law are the children who are seen as the natural and protected heirs to the property and assets of their parents. Surviving spouses may not benefit from the same inheritance rights as children unless the individual takes measures to ensure the manner in which the assets are distributed.
Our attorneys in France can help you with an evaluation of the default distribution of your assets according to French law. We can also help you prepare a will in which you can state directions as per the division of assets.

Inheritance laws in France

Under French law, part of an individual’s property can be reserved to the descendants and part can be freely distributed. This applies in case of real estate where children are entitled to most of the property previously owned by a French citizen.
Because children are viewed as the natural heirs of property, in families with one child he will receive half of the property. For two children the legal part of the property they are entitled to is 2/3 and for three children ¾ of the estate. The surviving spouse can receive ¼ of the estate. The remaining part of the property can be freely disposable (for example, also to the spouse or one of the children, if applicable). 

Inheritance planning in France

Any increases in the legal rights of one or more parties regarding inheritance can be done with prior inheritance planning. If there are no children, the rights to inherit property owned by a deceased are distributed among the surviving relatives: father or mother and brother or sister.
Non-residents in France are also subject to the distribution rules for property. A default rule that usually applies in this cases is that the property, either movable or immovable, is distributed according to the laws of the country of residence of the individual who owned property in France. The terms of the distribution can also be stated in a will.
Our lawyers in France can help you with more information about living in the country and the legal provisions for individuals. You can contact our law firm in France for more details and legal advice. 


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