Father died intestate in France, now notaire is silent
I need advice about a property my sister and I inherited from our father who died unexpectedly last year. He left no will. We are struggling to hear from the notaire he dealt with in France and don’t know what to do. L.S.
If you have not already done so, you should write to the notaire by post and email, to inform them you are the only children of the deceased and that he died intestate.
You should attach the death certificate and copies of your full birth certificates showing your parents’ names.
The notaire will also want a copy of your passport and your marriage certificate if applicable, and they will need to know your address to correspond with you.
When writing to the notaire, please write in French, unless you are absolutely certain that the notaire prefers to communicate in English (some do).
If your French is not fluent, you could hire a translator, or write in English and attach a copy of text done by an online translator such as deepl.com (although be aware that this is not always completely accurate).
Polite, respectful, helpful and persistent communication in French should ensure that you receive a reply.
Please note that the notaire will generally only communicate with you when necessary to do so – for example, if they need documents from you, or payment from you, or when draft documents are ready for your approval.
They will not usually routinely catch up with you or inform you of progress or lack of it.
Likewise, when contacting the notaire, try to be polite, relevant and succinct.
If you receive no communication at all from the notaire, then it may be that they do not want to take the matter on.
They will not confirm this to you, though, as they are expected to act on every estate they are asked to assist with.
You can always try a different notaire if no notaire is currently acting.
Question answered by John Kitching of Heslop & Platt answers a reader query
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