Inheritance Law and Wills in France* Take a look inside the guide. More about this guide


  • We have added a new chapter reviewing the 2021 change to French inheritance law which may affect those who have opted for a foreign law to govern their estate via the EU regulation (Brussels IV).
  • The update includes examples of people affected and we also interview notaires about whether this law is likely to be challenged and the likely outcome if so.
  • Rates for residential homes and dependency aid have also been updated.

Please note that we are unable to update previous editions of a guide. Generally any updates made will be within a given calendar year, so any updates to the current guide will be made during 2023 after which point we would expect to publish a new edition.


The guide is 68 pages and is aimed at expats or second home owners in France and gives an overview of the important topic of Inheritance Law and Wills in France.

+ 8 pages on the formalities to follow after a death
+ 8 pages on dependency issues and how retirement homes work in France

+ How to make a will in France

- Contents:

*Procedure on a death
*Succession rules and planning for succession
*Héritiers réservataires
*The pacte de famille
*The donation entre époux
*Providing for stepchildren
*Life insurance
*Buying property in France - considerations
1. Changing Marriage Regimes
2. The tontine
3. The Société Civile Immobilière (SCI)
*Lifetime gifts as an alternative to bequests
*The usufruit
*Taxation on death
*Patrim database
* Living wills and organ donation
* Power of Attorney

* Questions and Answers – EU Regulations (see below)

*Reader Questions and Answers (see below)

- Questions and answers – the EU regulation

  • Must I leave French flat to my son?
  • English wills of French resident
  • We are not married – who would inherit our property in France?
  • How can I leave French house to my partner and not my daughter?
  • Problems with ‘two-stage’ bequest in France
  • Should I take dual nationality?
  • Effect of tontine under the EU rule
  • Disagreement between lawyers
  • Must I update my UK will for France?
  • Does English law give total freedom?
  • Can we make a will as a couple?
  • What effect will Brexit have?
  • Can a child be excluded?
  • Can we help grandsons in future?
  • Can an Irish citizen in France disinherit their child?

- Reader questions and answers – general

  • We are not married: How do we minimise inheritance tax?
  • I am divorcing and want to receive my husband’s part of our home as a settlement - how do I do this? He wants to sell up
  • Can I leave house to grandchildren, not my child?
  • How does probate for UK assets work for French residents?
  • Advice for buying off-plan flat in ski-resort
  • Rights of ‘former’ stepchildren
  • Is Lasting Power of Attorney possible in France and would it avoid the need for probate on UK assets?
  • If I am able to also have French nationality would my UK home come under French inheritance law?
  • We are selling up in France: What fees and taxes are due and when?
  • Late declaration due to notaire in France
  • Can wife adopt my children if we become French?
  • How can I plan for changes in exchange rate if I am waiting for an inheritance?
  • Can funds be left ‘in trust’ for my young son
  • Husband wants my grandchildren to inherit
  • Find an English-speaking notaire in France
  • Making a lifetime gift to sons
  • Should you use a notaire for gifts in France?
  • Can survivor of couple sell French house?
  • How can son prove he is only child?
  • Will UK will still apply in France?
  • Leaving money to a disabled person
  • Do we need French will as well as marriage regime?
  • A British will in France
  • Who should second homeowners tell in the event of death?
  • Tax implications of gift in France
  • Marriage or pacs to avoid tax
  • Inheriting from my UK-based parents in France
  • Help for second wife in France
  • How do I get probate for UK assets in France?
  • What protection if not married?
  • What happens to sterling deposits?
  • How can we mitigate large tax bill?
  • Should I pay French inheritance tax?
  • Ways to reduce inheritance tax in France
  • Can a notaire refuse to do certain work in France?
  • Inheriting from Ireland: What do I do?
  • Can unwed partner stay in French home?
  • Can we close SCI which no longer suits our plans?
  • Can home held in SCI be left to survivor and not children?
  • Can home be gifted to just one child if both agree?
  • How can we leave to our nephew in France?
  • May I inherit part of Pacs partner’s pension?

The guide will be available to download immediately from the Download section of your MY ACCOUNT space - you access this from the top right of our website when logged in.

*The information in this guide is of a general nature, it is not advice which if needed can be sought by instructing a professional on the specifics of your case. All purchases are subject to our terms and conditions.