Reader Question: Will a Lasting Power of Attorney document previously set up in England be accepted in France? Are there any extra steps needed to take to make it valid here?
Under the Hague Convention on the International Protection of Adults (from the year 2000), an English Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) can be legally accepted in France.
In practice however, this UK arrangement may be unfamiliar to many French banks / authorities who may be unwilling to recognise it.
Even in cases where it is eventually accepted, it can be time-consuming and potentially costly.
To be on the safe side, therefore it is advised to set up a mandat de protection future (MDF) to cover yourself in France at least in regard to your assets in the country.
Both can be in place simultaneously, covering the assets within each legal jurisdiction.
Creating a mandat de protection future
An MDF can be used to designate somebody to look after all or part of your assets and property if your health declines beyond a certain point.
There are two versions – a non-notarised version, and one which requires a notaire to draft it, with the latter conferring greater powers.
Having the notarised version will be more useful, as a non-notarised form of the document will not be accepted for all tasks.
To set up a notarised MDF usually involves all those concerned – the designated protector, the elderly person, and the notaire – to be physically present in the same location, however sometimes exceptions can be made.
It must be put in place while the elderly person is still in good health, both physically and mentally.
Alternatives to an MDF
For less serious situations, there are French documents which allow for someone to control your affairs or wishes.
For health purposes, for example, you can officially designate a personne de confiance, who can help you with major health decisions and formalities and who will be consulted by doctors and hospitals about your wishes in the case or your being incapacitated by serious illness.
There are also several different ways in which family members or others can apply to help a person who is struggling to manage their own affairs.
For financial matters, for example, a habilitation familiale can be set up (this requires a doctor’s certificate and a hearing before a judge) designating a close family member of the individual as being in charge of decisions relating to certain assets. This lasts for up to 10 years, longer if then renewed.