Can I leave French house to my partner, not my daughter?

Every other day, we share a reader question from our help guide, Inheritance Law and Wills in France. Today's question is about leaving property to a partner, not a relative.

21 October 2020
House in France. Question from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Adrien Tutin / UnsplashQuestion from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Adrien Tutin / Unsplash
By Connexion Journalist

I live in France. I have an unmarried partner. She has put money into my property and is worried that if I should die she will not get it. My daughter says she does not want anything to do with it and I can give it to my partner. What should I do?

Solicitor Barbara Heslop of French law specialists Heslop and Platt says: Assuming you are a UK national, born in England or Wales, you could make an election of English and Welsh law pursuant to the EU succession regulation and then name your partner as sole beneficiary of the property (and the rest of your estate if you do not intend to leave any other assets to your daughter). This can be done either by making a French handwritten will or by making an English will.

However, if you and your partner are neither married nor civil partners, your partner will pay 60% inheritance tax in France on the value of the assets she inherits from you. Note that both same and opposite sex partners can sign a French civil partnership agreement, called a Pacs.

You should therefore consider getting married or become Pacs partners to protect your partner and to ensure anything she inherits from you under the terms of your will, will be tax free. You could also specify that while the property is to pass to your partner, your daughter is to receive a cash sum, if your estate will include money in a bank account or other investments. The election of English and Welsh law is essential if this is what you would want to happen on your death.

Find out all the information you need to create a will in France and more with our Inheritance Law and Wills in France 2020 help guide
Inheritance Law and Wills in France 2020 Help Guide
Inheritance Law and Wills in France 2020 Help Guide

Inheritance Law and Wills in France 2020 Help Guide

This 64-page help guide by The Connexion details all the information you need to know about inheritance law and wills in France. It looks at how to create a British will in France, explains succession laws, procedures on a death, creating a will as a couple, leaving funds to family and pets, and so much more. Click here to find out more.

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