Can we disinherit a child and exclude them from our estate?

Every other day, we share a reader question from our help guide, Inheritance Law and Wills in France. Today's question is about disinheriting a child and excluding them from a French/English will.

11 October 2020
Will and testament paper. Question from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Melinda Gimpel / UnsplashQuestion from The Connexion's inheritance laws and wills help guide. Melinda Gimpel / Unsplash
By Connexion Journalist

Can you specifically disinherit a child and exclude them from succeeding to their share of your estate? We are English and live in France.

Children are known, under French inheritance law, as reserved heirs which means they are automatically entitled to inherit a share of their parent’s assets on their death. This automatic entitlement cannot be overridden by making a will under French law.

As British nationals, you could however invoke the benefit of the EU Succession Regulation – otherwise known as Brussels IV – which allows you to choose the law of your nationality to govern the whole of your succession (i.e. English law if England is the country of your closest connection).

English law gives you full freedom to dispose of your estate as you wish provided that it does not contravene the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975 under which children can be disinherited unless they can prove that they are financially dependent on their deceased parent. Careful will drafting is required as the will dealing with your French assets should include an express election of the law of your nationality (English law) under Brussels IV. Otherwise your choice of law could be invalidated.

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

Inheritance Law and Wills in France 2020 Help Guide
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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