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Please can someone advise.
Two Brits, resident in France, wish to buy a property together. One of them has two adult children who on death of father would inherit a flat. The problem lies with a not yet bought house and what would happen if the man died and how could the partner ensure that the house would be hers for the rest of her life. As yet the couple are not married but if it helped, then would do so.
Would it be better to have an English will rather than a French one?
The basic problem is that in order to buy the house, they would both need to ask for a mortgage.
Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions.
 

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I think the best thing to do would be to get married go to a notaire and do a declaration that you want the linheritance law of England (assuming they are English/Welsh) then in the declaration you state where you want your French assets to go On a death in France the notaire deals with everything relating to the estate As always you may wan to see a notaire for advice
 

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Definitely see a notaire.

Makes sense to get married if they want to inherit anything from each other, in order to avoid the 60% inheritance tax payable on anything inherited from a non relative. There is no succession tax on inheritance between spouses.

Leaves the potential problem if they want his children to eventually inherit the house, if she outlives him and full ownership of the house passes to her. In that case the kids would each have to pay 60% inheritance tax on whatever they inherit from her since she and they are non relatives under French law, ie not related by blood.

Opting for an English will avoids the contraints French succession law places on who inherits what, but it doesn't bypass French succession tax. So in theory you are free to leave your estate to a non relative in preference to a relative, but in practice the non relative still has to pay the very high succession tax if they wish to accept the inheritance.
 

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There are a number of "ins" and "outs" regarding French inheritance law. Maybe best to go visit a local notaire for advice for their particular situation. If they are considering getting married to "simplify" things, they will want to consider if it might be advantageous to elect one of the non-default regimes rather than just go with the usual flow. That decision is best taken before the marriage (otherwise you have to wait two years and pay the notaires' fees for the de facto transfers of property title).

There are also some options if they do a "donation entre époux" (after the marriage has taken place). Plus, there are options related to "usufruit" (where the survivor gets lifetime use of the property and/or other assets of the estate). It's a bit too complicated to try to explain in the forum - but a notaire should be able to explain how some of these things work.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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