Parents may wish to pass on their assets while they are still alive to their children, perhaps to help them buy a property or to avoid conflict between heirs after a death, or simply to ensure the smooth transmission of a family property.
As a Lawyer, I meet people every day who have lost a relative or become concerned by their future and the possibility of losing the capacity to deal with their own affairs. In England it is possible to anticipate and curb a problem by signing a Lasting Power of Attorney. Alternatively, we may create a trust to administrate those assets posthumously. In France,neither of these forms existed until two recent Laws were passed, which introduced a form of Power of Attorney (mandate) with the purpose of providing the flexibility to organise and administrate a person’s assets or estate.
The Notaire who is called upon to settle an international succession is often confronted with a certain number of questions, one of them being the validity of a Will left by the deceased. Making a Will is the most common way for a person to settle his estate and transfer his assets to his heirs. For instance in of common Law Countries (United Kingdom, Unites States…) it is most of a time a testamentary succession.
Notaires in France are Public Officials appointed by the Ministry of Justice and have their own system and practice which is distinctive from the other profession of Avocat or even Solicitors.They are empowered to place the French State Seal on the deeds that they prepare. These deeds fall into a category of public document and are difficult to challenge. We have calls every day from client enquiring what the Notaire's fees are. Notaires always provide clients with a figure to complete the transaction butrarely break it down unless specifically requested.
With the recent European Succession law that came into force on 17th August 2015, most of British nationals wonder whether the use of a SCI to hold a property in France still has a benefit. Indeed, the new succession law permits a British national to choose English law as the law applicable to his estate and overcome the compulsory French forced heirship.
The system of buying a property in France is not so different from the one in the UK. Balancing the two systems, none is better or worse than the other but they both have their particularities. Whereas exchange takes place after the formalities have been carried out in England, the French exchange (signing of initial contract) takes place prior to carrying out the searches. The purpose of this article is to give you an indication of the process of purchasing a property in France. In any case it will replace any advice that you would seek through a professional.
In December, France lost one of its greatest singers and idols of several generations, Johnny Hallyday. The sadness of his death has now been shadowed by a media unpacking around his estate and his Will. Johnny Hallyday had two children from previous unions and adopted two children with his surviving spouse, Laeticia - a situation that is not unusual nowadays. According to his Will, he designated Californian law as the law applicable to his succession and bequeathed all his estate to his wife, to the detriment of his two children from previous unions.
Most of European countries have ratified the European succession Law and Monaco has now decided to create its own international rules to match the rest of Europe. As a result civil law will no longer be an issue for an English national as he will always be able to apply English law to his assets wherever he is located.
The European Court of Justice said in the case JAHIN (CJUE 18/01/2018 – CASE C45/17 JAHIN) that a non-resident of France living outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland could be subject to social contributions (CSG and CRDS) levied on their income in France by the French tax authorities.
We are one year away from the new European legislation regarding matrimonial regime that was voted and adopted by 18 members of the European Union. It will
come into force in the countries that voted and adopted it from 29th January 2019 and has for aim to replace The Hague convention dated 14th
March 1978. There is no doubt that Notaires and International Lawyers will have to review their client’s personal situation regarding their French and overseas
assets for estate planning purposes. They will also have to juggle with the Hague convention, Common Law and new legislation to assess the nature of the assets.
The cooling-off period, which was introduced after the law dated 13th December 2000 and amended by the law Macron dated 6th august 2015, provides that a
non-professional purchaser can withdraw from the contract within a period of ten days starting "from the day after the first notice by the post office”. Notaires and estate agents tend to send contracts duly signed by the parties to each purchaser by registered post without worrying whether or not the recipient of the letter is the actual purchaser.
A recent court case dated 12th October 2017 brought a new position regarding the validity of a cooling off period signed by a third party.
On 28th June 2017 the National Council of Monaco voted a new Act on private international law to complete the existing provisions and bring a legal solution to the competent jurisdiction and applicable law in situations involving various jurisdictions as well as establishing recognition of foreign decisions and instruments.
One of the promises of Emmanuel Macron was to replace the current wealth tax by a new tax that would only apply to real estate. The capital property tax (IFI) as envisaged by Emmanuel Macron consists of taking out financial investments, savings, luxury movables (cars, yachts, horses…) and other securities from the taxable assets of the ISF in order to retain only real estate.