The process for winding up an estate following a person’s death is different in France from the procedure in the UK. It is not only language that can cause delay, extra cost and complication.

Unlike the position in the UK, a deceased person’s estate does not vest in his executors or administrators on his death, rather it is the beneficiaries who automatically inherit the deceased’s assets at the moment he dies. This may appear to simplify matters, although unfortunately this is not always the case. The first point to note is that in the absence of an administrator or executor, the beneficiaries are personally responsible for managing and progressing the succession. It can be difficult to locate all of the beneficiaries and there can be disagreement between them, not least given the fixed rights that French inheritance law confers upon certain people.

France does not recognise trusts, so a Will that is not specifically designed to cover France can cause complications when dealing with the succession. We often work with Notaires to ensure that they correctly interpret English Wills if these do cover the French estate.

There are strict time limits that apply to completing a succession, with penalties being applicable on any late submission.

We can help you through the whole succession process, working with a Notaire in France, to ensure that the correct result is achieved. We can ensure that Wills – both French and English – are interpreted properly. We will then ensure that you fully understand the documents you are being invited to complete, and that they are completed correctly.


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