Guide to French Inheritance Laws and Taxes

  1. Introduction
  2. French Inheritance Laws
  3. French Inheritance Tax
  4. Inheritance Planning in France

4. Inheritance Planning in France

Property Ownership Options

  1. Buy 'En Tontine'
  2. Buy using a Property Company

Juridical Options

  1. Adopt a French Marriage Contract
  2. Enter into a French Civil Partnership
  3. Make a Family Inheritance Pact
  4. Make a Will
  5. Create a Trust Structure
  6. European Succession Law

Financial Planning Options

  1. Buy or Improve with a Mortgage
  2. Make a Gift Between Man and Wife
  3. Make a Gift to Children/Grandchildren
  4. Make a Gift to Others
  5. Take out Life Insurance

4.12. Make a Gift to Others

The amount you may give away in gifts to others depends on your family circumstances, as gifts are governed by the laws of inheritance.

If you do not have children (or grand-children) and neither parents alive, you can dispose of the totality of your possessions in the form of gifts.

If you have only parents you can only dispose of up to a maximum of half of your property.

If you have children (or grand-children) then the amount of your wealth you can give away depends on the number of your descendants as follows:

Table: Freely Disposable

No of Children Freely Disposable
One Child 1/2 of estate
Two Children 1/3 estate
Three Children 1/4 estate

If you are not married, but live with someone in a civil partnership or 'free union', then the use of the gift procedure is a way of protecting the future interests of your surviving partner.

It should be noted, however, that gifts, once made, cannot normally be revoked, unless there are specific provisions in the agreement, or there are other very exceptional circumstances. In this event, legal proceedings are normally required.

Gifts are liable to gift tax payable by the recipient. Outside of the immediate family, the allowances against gifts tax are derisory.

In addition, if the value of the gift is in excess of that which is freely disposable under inheritance laws then, on death of the donor, the beneficiary may owe monies to other inheritors. Not always an easy problem to resolve if the gift has already been spent!

Next: Take out Life Insurance

Back: Make a Gift to Children/Grandchildren

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