Here at The Good Life France we don’t pretend to be experts on tax or inheritance rules in France but we can tell you that you should, if you’re an expat, check how being resident in France might affect your assets when it comes to inheritance.
Once you become a permanent resident in France, your assets, wherever they might be, will be subject to French inheritance rules and taxes – not the rules of the country where your assets may be held, though your beneficiaries may have issues with the country that your assets are in (if not France) wanting to claim tax also. There may also be Double Tax Treaty issues for them to deal with.
Under French law, children are classed as “protected heirs” and must receive a percentage of your assets shared amongst them – whatever your wishes. This is usually not less than 50% of the total of your assets. If you make out a will for instance leaving your assets to, for instance your spouse, and not to your children, French law states that this will be ignored and 50% of the assets will be distributed to the children regardless.
In France the beneficiary of the assets is responsible for paying the tax where it is applicable and the amount is usually dependent on the relationship of the beneficiary with the deceased – for instance nieces and nephews will pay higher tax as will friends, step-children etc than children if eligible.
There are solutions for dealing with any issues and problems that you may have around inheritance rules in France but you’ll need to get someone who is well versed in the law in France to deal with this.
There are plenty of qualified companies who can help and it’s highly recommended that you seek professional advice from a reputable company which specialises in tax and inheritance rules in France.