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Will wife face big inheritance bill?

Ee have been warned that my wife will face huge tax demands if I die

24 February 2011

I CAME to France in 1989 with my British/Chinese wife and our three sons. I stayed, but my wife ended up going back to live and work in the UK because she could not find a job. Now we have been warned that my wife, not having been resident in France for 20 years, will face huge tax demands if I die. This is very worrying. D.A.

Avocat Gérard Barron from Boulogne-sur-Mer said that, provided you are both still married, when one of you dies, any property passing to the surviving spouse in either France or in the UK is inheritance tax-exempt, the place of residence being irrelevant.

The only difference the spouse’s place of residence could make is on the capital gains tax exemption for the family home, which might be lost. However, if you have owned it for at least 15 years, the capital gain would be exempt anyway.

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