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Adoption in France: Adopted Child Inheritance Rights Explained

Adoption is a parent/child relationship established by a legal act between a person, either adult or minor (the adopted child) and another person (the adopter). In French adoption law, there are two types of adoption: simple adoption and full adoption.

Simple Adoption and Inheritance in France

Simple adoption leaves the legal ties between the adopter and his or her family of origin intact. In particular, the adopted person retains his or her inheritance rights. At the same time, the adopted child acquires the same inheritance rights from the adoptive parents as other biological children. Adoptees, therefore, have dual inheritance rights, i.e. a double right to inherit: the first from their biological parents, the second from their adoptive parents.

Full Adoption and Inheritance in France

In contrast, full adoption severs all legal ties between the adopted child and his or her family of origin. The adopted person has a new filiation, which replaces his or her original filiation. A new birth certificate is drawn up and the child is registered in the adopter's family record book. As a result, he or she will be entitled to inherit from his or her adoptive parents under the same conditions as a non-adopted child, and will be excluded from inheriting from his or her biological family.

Full Adoption Succession

By creating a new relationship between the adopter and the adopted child, full adoption confers on the adopted child the same rights and obligations as a legitimate child. A child adopted by means of a full adoption, therefore, benefits from the same inheritance rights as the adopter's biological children: he or she becomes a reserved heir of his or her adoptive family and of the latter's ascendants (the adoptive grandparents). 

While the adopted child is entitled to the succession of his adoptive parents, he is at the same time excluded from the succession in his biological family.

Adoptee Inheritance Tax Rates in France

In principle, the family relationship resulting from adoption is not taken into account when calculating inheritance tax. The adopted person must pay an inheritance tax of 60% of the value of estate inherited. 

However, the law provides for several cases in which the adopted child may benefit from the same rights as the adopter's biological children (article 786 of the General Tax Code): 

If the adopted person meets one of these conditions, he or she will also be able to benefit from the allowances reserved for biological children: 

  • Child from the first marriage of the adopter's spouse, 
  • Adopted minor at the time of the adopter's death.
When the adopter dies, the adopted child is subject to the same rate of tax as biological children. The sums passed on will be taxed at the rates applicable to direct descendants, ranging from 5% to 45% depending on the share due to each heir after the allowance of €100,000.

Speak with French Adoption and Inheritance Experts

Looking for expert guidance on French adoption, inheritance, and tax law? Look no further! At France Tax Law, our dedicated team of legal professionals are on hand to help. We can assist with the legalities of French adoption, and our informed team can guide you through matters of succession and inheritance tax throughout.  

Our experienced team, boasting over two decades of notarial experience, is here to assist you every step of the way. With a French-qualified notaire on board, we ensure you're in safe hands, receiving the highest level of expertise in both French and UK law.  

Ensuring your adopted child is properly included in your succession plans is an important but potentially complicated process. We can take the complexity out of it, helping you create a clear succession plan for the whole family. Speak to our French family law specialist today. 

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