Legal & Tax Advice

All our experts hold Law degrees. Some are Solicitors others hold the “CJA”, the “appropriate legal expertise” in international notarial and family law. Hence they have the right and the obligation to provide clients with written legal and tax advice, through private reports. 

Our expertise covers the following subjects:  

  • simulating the liquidation of one’s estate,  
  • writing « international will », and getting them registered,
  • donating a lump sum to children or grandchildren, under French Law,
  • writing elaborate powerful assurance vie beneficiary clause, 
  • estimate the IHT  on one’s worldwide assets, 
  • declare French income tax, 
  • acquiring french tax residency status, & carte de séjour
  • registering with the French tax offices, 
  • Investing in real estate loop wholes, 
  • creating a “Société Civil Immobilière” or setting up a Tontine, 
  • changing Marital status., 

FRENCH MARITAL REGIMES

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SUCCESSION PLANNING

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PROTECTING THE REMAINING SPOUSE

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MATRIMONIAL BENEFITS AND RIGHTS

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FRENCH WILLS

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CROSS BORDER TAX ADVICE

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LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

FRENCH MARITAL REGIMES

• Séparation de Biens “article 1546 et 1543 CC”: This is the default regime for a British couple married in the UK. Each spouse holds their assets separately from the other.
• Communauté réduite aux acquêts: This is the default regime for a couple married in France where no marriage contract is concluded
• Communauté Universelle: All the assets owned by the spouses on the day of marriage and any assets they may subsequently acquire, become common ownership. The marriage contract can include a clause attribution which allows for all of the deceased’s share of the assets to pass automatically to the surviving spouse upon the first death.

There are others, one of them being outdated as terminated in 1966, the other is extremely rare, and no particular interest for the expat community.

LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

MATRIMONIAL BENEFITS AND RIGHTS

• One can change their matrimonial régime: Art. 1397 CC: After two years of application of the matrimonial regime, the spouses may agree, in the interest of the family, to modify it, or even to change it entirely, by a notarial act. The adult children of each spouse are personally informed of the envisaged modification. Each of them may object to the amendment within three months. In the event of opposition, the notarial deed is subject to approval by the court of the spouses’ domicile.

Clauses which can be used to share the estate or added to the matrimonial régime

• The clause of Préciput: Art. 1515 CC: The marriage contract may stipulate that the surviving spouse, shall be entitled to deduct from the community before the estate is divided, either a certain sum, a specific property, or a certain quantity of a particular kind of property.
• Stipulations of unequal shares: Art 1520 CC: The spouses may derogate from the equal sharing established by law.
• Unequal distribution clauses: Art 1524 A & A525 A CC

LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

SUCCESSION PLANNING

Art 912 CC :
• The “hereditary reserve,” i.e. “réserve héréditaire” is the part of the property and inheritance rights that by law ensures the free vesting of charges to certain heirs known as reserved heirs, if they call to the succession and if they accept it.
• The “available share,” i.e. “quotité disponible” is the part of the estate that is not legally reserved and which the deceased can dispose of through liberalities freely.

Arti 757 du CC:
• If the predeceased spouse leaves children or descendants, the surviving spouse shall, at his or her choice, collect the usufruct of all existing property or the ownership of one-quarter of the property when all the children are common to both spouses. In the presence of one or more children from another bed, the remaining spouse only has the right to a quarter.

LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

FRENCH WILLS

There are « four » different wills one can legally use in France :

• Testament Olographe (holographic will) : Art. 970 CC: A holographic will not be valid unless it is written in full, dated and signed by the testator: it is not subject to any other form.
• Testament Authentique: The authentic will is established with the assistance of the “notaire”. This type of will guarantees the respect of the last wishes of its author and the distribution of his property under the legal rules
• Testament Mystique: The mystical will is a will whose content remains hidden until the person’s death. For this purpose, it is placed in a sealed envelope and handed over to a notary before two witnesses
• Testament International: The interest of this will lies in the fact that it is valid regardless of the country in which it is written, the situation of the property, the nationality, the domicile or the residence of the testator. The international will can be written by the testator or by a third party, or even typed. Thus, it can is used by people with physical disabilities or illiterate people. No dictation is imposed, so the testator who is silent or has speech difficulties may use it. The text may be written in any language, even if the notary and the witnesses do not understand that language. However, it can also be written by a person of French nationality, residing in France.

Art. 972 CC:
When the testator cannot express himself in French, dictation and reading may be performed by an interpreter chosen by the testator from the national list of judicial experts drawn up by the Court of Cassation or from the list of judicial experts drawn up by each court of appeal. The interpreter ensures that the comments made are appropriately translated. The notary is not required to use an interpreter when he and, as the case may be, the other notary or witnesses understand the language in which the testator speaks.
When the testator can write in French but cannot speak, the notary writes the will himself or has it written by hand or mechanically from the notes written before him by the testator, and then reads them to the testator. When the testator cannot hear, he or she reads the will himself or herself, after reading it by the notary.

LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

PROTECTING THE REMAINING SPOUSE

After the death of the partner, in France the remaining spouse can dispose of particular rights as follows :
• Art. 763 of the French code civil: Temporary right on the main house (for one year),
• Art. 764 of the French code civil: Right to live in the main house for life.
Hold a « food claim » (pension alimentary) against the succession,
• Be exempt of IHT

LEGAL & TAX ADVICE

CROSS BORDER TAX ADVICE

New in 2019,
Social security contributions from non-residents
The purpose of this amendment is to exempt from CSG – CRDS on capital income (income from assets and investment products) persons who are not covered by the French compulsory social security scheme but who are covered by the compulsory social security scheme of another EU, EEA or Swiss Member State. However, this would not apply to non-residents of States other than the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, which could “create an unjustified inequality of treatment between French residents in Europe and others “4.

New in 2019
Regulation 2016/1103 of the EU parliament
Implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes shall apply from 29 January 2019 in the Member States which participate (France included)
• Art. 22 authorised spouses to designate or change the law applicable to this matter
• Art 26 determines the applicable law in the absence of choice by the parties between the spouses first ordinary, habitual residence after the marriage or common nationality?

New in 2019,
Amendment n°I-2567
“Capital gains tax exemption for French Non Residents.”
introduced as part of the Finance Bill for 2018 and currently adopted – allows a non-resident who transfers the building that was his principal residence in France on the date of the transfer of his tax domicile outside France to be exempt from capital gains tax on the two conditions:
– that this transfer be made no later than 31 December of the year following that in which the transferor transfers his tax domicile outside France
– also, that the property has not been made available to third parties, free of charge or against payment, between such transfer and the transfer.

Regulation 650/2012 of the EU parliament or BRUSSELS IV
Brussels IV has been in place since 17 August 2015. It intended to simplify issues relating to succession across the EU, and it affects an individual with a connection to any EU member state. While the UK (and Ireland and Denmark) opted out of this legislation, it is still relevant to any UK resident individuals who own assets in any other EU member state.
However, whereas ‘Brussels IV’ expatriates can override French succession laws to ensure their estate goes to chosen heirs, this is beware considering the tax consequences.