Should I take out new French 'AV' policy?
If you have an assurance vie there is a tax-free element after a number of years. If you receive another lump sum you want to invest in AV, is it best to top up the one you already have and, if so, are you able to take advantage of the tax-free element already existing? Or should you take out a separate AV and start again from scratch? M.M.
The answer depends on the amounts.
There is a rule for AV policies that they retain the characteristics of the original policy as long as there is no “material change”.
Investing an amount that could be seen as significant compared to the original investment could be regarded as a material change.
So, if the new amount is incidental to the original amount, the supposition would be that yes, you could add it to the original contract without affecting the terms of that contract, including its duration.
But if the new investment was, say, more than half of the original investment, then both investments, even though in the one contract, would be treated as two separate investments.
Whether it is best to add to the original contract or take out a second one depends again on the amounts and the contract itself.
For example, if the amounts involved are large, it may be more profitable to invest in a new one with another company, offering access to different funds and options.
This all also depends on what kind of investor you are. We suggest you take advice from a suitably-qualified professional (you can check for firms at orias.fr).
Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald
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