I'm English, must I leave French flat to my son?

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 children.

8 October 2020
Flat in Paris, France. Question from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Fabien Maurin / UnsplashQuestion from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Fabien Maurin / Unsplash
By Connexion Journalist

I am English and live in the UK. I own a holiday flat in France. When I bought it in 2003 inheritance law stated that my son, who is my only child, would inherit it. Can I now leave it to whoever I choose and if so how?

Yes, the EU regulation’s rule on place of last residence means French lawyers should take English law as applying to your estate by default, so you can take advantage of its more flexible rules. However given you are UK resident, many experts advise that you make a French-asset specific English will to sit alongside your main English will (assuming you have one).

To be on the safe side, this will should clarify your intention for English law to apply to your whole estate and you can name your chosen beneficiary. However note that if your beneficiary is unrelated to you and is not a spouse or civil partner, they will pay 60% French tax. Your son on the other hand would receive a tax allowance of €100,000 and then pay according to bands from 5% to 45%.

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

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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