Inheritance law and wills in France: Leaving money to a pet

Every other day, we share a reader question from our helpguide, Inheritance Law and Wills in France. Today's question: Can I leave money to my pet?

23 September 2020
Question from our helpguide on inheritance law and wills in France: can money be left to pets? Pictured, a cat sitting on a table in a kitchen. Paul Hanaoka / UnsplashQuestion from our helpguide on inheritance law and wills in France: can money be left to pets? Paul Hanaoka / Unsplash
By Connexion Journalist

Question:

Can I leave money in my will to my cat? How else could I make sure my cat’s looked after?

From our Brexit 2020 Help Guide: should I change UK pet passport to a French version?

Answer:

You cannot leave money directly to a cat in France. For inheritance issues they are considered property, meaning they can be bequeathed to someone, but you cannot bequeath to them. You could leave the cat by will to a trusted person or find an animal association which would find it a new home.

Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis says animals may be bequeathed to it, though a temporary solution for someone to look after them before it takes charge should be provided for. Speak to any charity you have in mind to make sure it is able to accept. You may want to leave money by will to the charity or friend. This can be formalised as a legs avec charge, a gift linked to a responsibility (agreeing to look after the cat). A notaire could advise.

If your estate is governed by French law, a share owed to a reserved heir cannot be made conditional on performing certain actions and money left for the pet should not infringe on any legally-reserved portions. Money left to a friend would have 60% tax payable on it. Certain charities can receive gifts without tax and others pay a reduced rate.

Read more: How will British pet owners be affected by Brexit?

Connexion helpguide front cover: Inheritance Law and Wills in France
Connexion helpguide: Inheritance Law and Wills in France

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

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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