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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone

Mine is a long story but I will try to make it short and stick to the points where I am confused.

I was adopted by a French couple in the 1980's and lived in France with them. My adoptive mother died and my adoptive father inherited her estate with my agreement (I signed the papers).

My father then remarried with a contract called ; communauté universelle; and to which thus far no signed consent is found that I might have given.

My father died 2 years ago and his new wife has taken everything including his appartment, his pension, his precious jewellery as well as my adoptive mother's entire estate and what was left of her pension. I have been given absolutely nothing at all of his or my mother's estate.

I have more recently discovered that the new wife removed all my father's money out of his bank account BEFORE he died. All of the bank accounts show a ZERO balance as at the date he died.

I have no idea what my rights are?

Is there anyone in this forum who perhaps understands inheritance laws and could tell me or at least give me an indication whether I have any rights?

I am the only child to my adoptive parents and my adoption is called ''adoption simple''.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have which might help you direct me better.

Thank you for this in advance.
 

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Normally, for a couple to marry with a communauté universelle contract, any adult children must give their approval before the contract becomes valid. However, even in that case, I think the way it works is that everything passes to the surviving spouse - and only to the child or children on the death of the other spouse.

Your only option, I suspect, would be to find the notaire who handled the estate of your father and ask there what the disposition was. It's possible you are in line to receive something on the death of your father's second wife - however just what and how much depends on whether she has children.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Normally, for a couple to marry with a communauté universelle contract, any adult children must give their approval before the contract becomes valid. However, even in that case, I think the way it works is that everything passes to the surviving spouse - and only to the child or children on the death of the other spouse.

Your only option, I suspect, would be to find the notaire who handled the estate of your father and ask there what the disposition was. It's possible you are in line to receive something on the death of your father's second wife - however just what and how much depends on whether she has children.
Cheers,
Bev
Thank you for this Bev. My father's wife has no children. I signed no consent to their marriage contract. I am in touch with my father's notaire but from a distance as I now reside in South Africa. They have also confirmed that none of my father's assetts were declared upon his death and have called for his wife to produce the list of assetts but it appears that she got them all in her name before he died placing his estate at zero and it is this point that I am questionning - whether she had the legal right to do this? This meant that when he died he owned nothing because whilst he was alive she transferred everything into her own name? Is this legal? That is my question?
 

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Hi,
Unless you signed a renunciation of your rights in your father's estate, you are now entitled to bring an "action en retranchement" against the succession. Winning such an action will get your rights restored and entitle you to your share of assets or the money equivalent. You should stay in contact with the notaire who dealt with the succession and be advised . You will probably need the services of an avocat.
See here:
www.heritage-succession.com/article...ce-au-conjoint-laction-en-retranchement.htmln .


Note that there is a 5 year limitation on bringing such an actiohttp:
 

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A further piece of information which may be useful: as you probably know, in the case of an adoption simple, the adopted child also retains the right to inherit from his or her biological parents, whereas an adoption pleinière means that the child can only inherit from his or her adoptive parents.

Obviously this is only applicable if your biological parents where also French.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited by Moderator)
Hi,
Unless you signed a renunciation of your rights in your father's estate, you are now entitled to bring an "action en retranchement" against the succession. Winning such an action will get your rights restored and entitle you to your share of assets or the money equivalent. You should stay in contact with the notaire who dealt with the succession and be advised . You will probably need the services of an avocat.
See here:



Note that there is a 5 year limitation on bringing such an action
Thank you very very much for this important information. I have researched it and it appears I could well have a legitimate case as my father died just under 2 years ago and I only discovered the actions of his wife in the last month. I am going to pursue this. Very much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A further piece of information which may be useful: as you probably know, in the case of an adoption simple, the adopted child also retains the right to inherit from his or her biological parents, whereas an adoption pleinière means that the child can only inherit from his or her adoptive parents.

Obviously this is only applicable if your biological parents where also French.
Thank you. My biological parents died when I was very young and I was adopted much later on so this is not an issue.
 

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I am being told that if my case is successful I will pay 65% inheritance tax - that's a huge percentage - does anyone know if this is correct?
 

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I am being told that if my case is successful I will pay 65% inheritance tax - that's a huge percentage - does anyone know if this is correct?
There is a scale for inheritance tax, and the tax paid depends on your relationship to the deceased.

Quels abattements et tarifs s'appliquent au bénéficiaire d'une succession*? - Service-public.fr
Note "Les enfants adoptés par la voie de l'adoption simple acquittent les mêmes droits que les personnes non parentes (60%). Toutefois, il y a des exceptions (enfant issu d'un 1er mariage, enfant pris en charge pendant plus de 5 années consécutives, ...)."

http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/dgi/public/popup?espId=1&typePage=cpr02&docOid=documentstandard_364
 

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Just chipping in here: you should move with all due haste before the assets are dissipated and I strongly second the advice to get a lawyer who is competent in this field. It is all very well to receive a restoration of your rights but if she has dissipated and spent the proceeds it could be an empty bucket. I suppose there must be a legal mechanism in France that will impose a freeze on the assets of wife while this fight takes place.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just chipping in here: you should move with all due haste before the assets are dissipated and I strongly second the advice to get a lawyer who is competent in this field. It is all very well to receive a restoration of your rights but if she has dissipated and spent the proceeds it could be an empty bucket. I suppose there must be a legal mechanism in France that will impose a freeze on the assets of wife while this fight takes place.
Thank you, yes I have gone as far as I can and now am in need of an excellent attorney in Paris who specialises in inheritance. Can anyone advise me of such a person.

Thanks to all of you for your participation, information, advice and assistance. When it is all done and dusted I will be sure to update you. My father was famous and so I cannot reveal everything in case this is picked up on the internet. I intend to fight for my rights but I am aware that it could possibly all by now have been dissipated to protect the wife against any action from me. A freeze on all the assetts would be an excellent start - thank you.

Is anyone able to suggest such an attorney for me please? Thank you so much. May the sun shine on you all :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do any of you think I should perhaps put a new thread called ''Seeking French attorney in Paris specialising in inheritance'' - I may find the right person? What do you think?
 

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I would think it's to your advantage to have it splashed all over the Internet.
Thank you. Yes I agree but I have to be very careful that nor my identity nor that of my father is revealed as he is world renown and his wife could pick up on my actions.

It's extremely sensitive.

I will do a post in this forum hoping it's safe but will word it carefully.

Thank you.
 

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The lawyer community in SA may be able to guide you in finding competent counsel in Paris. Find a good lawyer in SA, perhaps in a biggish Chambers or Firm and ask for a referral. You want counsel that has engaged in this type of inheritance squabble before.
 

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The lawyer community in SA may be able to guide you in finding competent counsel in Paris. Find a good lawyer in SA, perhaps in a biggish Chambers or Firm and ask for a referral. You want counsel that has engaged in this type of inheritance squabble before.
Thank you. As I speak French and read it very well and have a representation already in Paris I prefer to work through a French company and not through a South African company - I could be wrong in this decision but I have now understood that French inheritance is very tricky with a lot of Civil Codes attached and it requires someone who is highly specialised in this field to understand the letter of the law.

I will call the SA law community tomorrow - great advice - thank you so much Keri.
 

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Hello everyone

I thought I'd update you all. Firstly thanks to the many that replied to my thread - I got excellent advice which I followed and now in 2 weeks time I'm about to go sign the papers securing my inheritance on the death of the person who stole it. She hid everything. She removed all my father's money out of his bank account before he died - my father basically died a penniless man leaving me with no inheritance but as you well know French inheritance law is very strict.

My only last problem now is that both her and her lawyer are refusing to give me papers proving that she has not bonded the property and in which case I would inherit a debt. I am scrambling around trying to find out if this would be a legal obligation from her lawyer to give to me and if not how I could perhaps find out if it is bonded or not?

Any assistance would be much appreciated. Thanks to all !
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi,
Unless you signed a renunciation of your rights in your father's estate, you are now entitled to bring an "action en retranchement" against the succession. Winning such an action will get your rights restored and entitle you to your share of assets or the money equivalent. You should stay in contact with the notaire who dealt with the succession and be advised . You will probably need the services of an avocat.
See here:
www.heritage-succession.com/article...ce-au-conjoint-laction-en-retranchement.htmln .


Note that there is a 5 year limitation on bringing such an actiohttp:
Thank you so much for this fantastic advice because this is exactly what I did. I found out more about 'action en retranchement' and you were spot on! She immediately responded asking what it is that I wanted - she would have the lost the case hands down. Great advice - thanks again :) Scroll further down to see my next problem! Phew I'm nearly there now!
 
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