Change of French home’s ownership under tontine regime

A friend and his wife bought a home under a tontine. His widow thought she would become the full owner with no fee but her notaire said there is €4,000 due to register the change of ownership. Is this right? N.H.

30 October 2019
By Hugh MacDonald

Honorary avocat Gerard Barron from Boulogne-sur-Mer said property purchase “stamp duty” fees are not due on re-registration in the widow’s name as the death of the husband does not affect a transfer of title.

It just means he is deemed never to have owned the property.

He said there is a small land registry fee for removing his name from the title of around a couple of hundred euros.

The notaire is entitled to some remuneration for his or her work but he said €4,000 would be too high.

He added that there is no obligation on the widow to remove her late husband’s name from the title. She could leave things as they are.

If, for example, she later wanted to sell, the notaire would deal with the amendment to the title records when registering the sale.

The same would apply on her death, he said.

Inheritance tax is due on the husband’s part of the home - but the rate is zero between spouses.

A tax return should be made via a notaire.


Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald

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