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Making second home our first

Would it be beneficial for us to make our French home our primary residence, not our UK property?

28 September 2010

We bought our second home here in France 20 years ago and renovated it over time, using it for maybe six to eight weeks a year.
Since retirement eight years ago, we have lived here about 170-180 days a year. We have our main residence in the UK.
We would like to spend longer than 180 days in France, but our travel insurance will not allow this.
We would also like to bequeath our three children our house here without too large a bill.
Would it be more beneficial to have our French home as our main domicile and then they would be liable only after €150,000, as it would seem that they would have to pay 40-60% on a second home in France, meaning they would have to sell it. M.T.

There are several questions here. First, travel insurance is usually provided for visits abroad; and visits abroad mean from your country of residency to another country.

If you move your residency to France, then you will need to have travel insurance insurance for when you return to the UK.

You should consult a reputable insurance broker, because as there are policies for fixed periods or even a total number of days in the year, in or outside the EU. So, the insurance aspect is not an issue for you spending more time in France.

Secondly, with regards to inheritance tax, you have a number of options, each dependent on whether you remain a non-fiscal resident of France or become resident permanently in France, to reduce, if not alleviate completely, the inheritance tax liability.

Apart from mentioning that the inheritance tax threshold for children is in fact €156,974, I would suggest you speak to an appropriate tax consultant as he would be able to provide you with a more detailed reply, based on the value of the properties and, indeed, of your estates.

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