Most people in the UK will be aware that over the past few years it has been possible for a same sex couple to enter into a joint contract known as a civil partnership or CPA, which grants a number of similar rights that can be enjoyed by a heterosexual couple when they marry, such as an exemption to inheritance tax on legacies left from one partner to the other on death.
France produced similar legislation a number of years previously, although it was broader in some respects. The main difference is that it is available not only to same sex couples, but to any couple in a stable relationship.
There were however some anomalies with the legislation, such as non-recognition of non-French equivalent agreements (a British CPA for example), and a difference in treatment for tax purposes.
These anomalies were corrected in 2009, so that if a couple has now completed a CPA under English law then this will be recognised in France, and there will be no incidence of inheritance tax on any legacy as between partners. However there are still a number of points that demand attention, especially that a CPA or PACS will not work to override the rights of any children under French law, and will not give any automatic rights of inheritance as between the couple.
Whether you are in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and are thinking of entering into such a contractual arrangement, we will be able to discuss the various options available to you.