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Notaire a necessity?


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Unfortunately my wife passed away last week and I am getting overwhelmed with things I need to do.

When we bought the house we signed a Donation Entre Epoux so that she would have the right to remain etc.

Presumably there is therefore no need to do anything regarding the house as it will be in my name.

But is it necessary or advisable to retain a Notaire for other things, the only other things she owned outright are Livret A and LDD, but presumably the bank can sort that out.

We also have an apartment in UK in joint names but I will contact a UK solicitor to sort that out.

I am also shocked to find out that all her jewellery has been handed to the Tresoir Public for some reason by the hospital in Montpellier, do I have to pay tax on this or is it part of the overall valuation of her assets.
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Very sorry to hear your sad news CJ.

That sounds a very odd thing, for the hospital to have handed your wife's jewellery over to the tax office.

My husband and I had made a donation entre époux in relation to our holiday home so when he died (not in France) that was activated - I am pretty sure by the notaire.

It's a long time ago now, so my recall may be a bit fuzzy, but I think the DEE gives the survivor the right to go on living in the house, and using the chattels therein, but the ownership of the house will be changed - and that will need a notaire, too.

For example, if you jointly owned the property, then half is yours anyway; I think another quarter (half of your wife's half) would go to you too. But the remaining quarter might end up not being yours, if you have children. (I expect this depends on the regime you bought under originally.). So although the survivor has the right to remain in it, he/she would not then own the property outright.

My notaire actually advised me to buy out the children if I could, so that I could be 100% in control of deciding whether I wanted to keep or sell the property.

Good luck with everything...

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I would also like to express my sympathy.

This .pdf document is full of useful information for Montpellier, but it is in French

 there is a useful section on this site about what to do when someone dies, but it may not be very up to date

In fact the handing over things of value, especially if they have been put in a safe is quite  a standard procedure.

The following is from the site of a different hospital:


objets de valeur (argent, bijoux, cartes de crédit, ché-quiers,

etc.) déposés par le défunt, de son vivant, au coffre de l’hôpital

et les biens trouvés auprès de lui à son décès sont placés sous

la garde du Trésor Public

and to get them back simply have to show:


biens peuvent vous être remis par le Trésor Public sur


d’un certificat d’hérédité ou du livret de


de l’acte de décès ;

de la pièce d’identité de

la personne effectuant le retrait (personne figurant en lien direct

sur le livret de famille)

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I'm so sorry for your loss CeeJay. My husband died 3 months ago and I sympathise with you about the overwhelming amount of admin.

First I would say very little has to be done immediately. I believe a notaire has to be consulted within 6 months. I posted about this a few days ago. Transferring the title of the property seems expensive but would have to be done if you ever decide to sell it.

You take a death certificate to the bank and they can advise you about your wife's accounts and how to transfer the money to you and whether it's the notaire's job or they just need to see the Donation Entre Epoux. If you have a joint account and the chequebook is M ou Mme, you can still use it. If the bank card is in your wife's name you won't be able to use that.

If you have children they may have an interest in the house - you'd have to ask the notaire.

You don't need a solicitor to transfer a UK house in joint names. I went online to the Land Registry, downloaded and sent off a form and a death cert. (It asked for translation but I reckoned they could work it out and they didn't insist.) They were very efficient and you can email questions.

You don't have to register the death in the UK.

You will need to contact your wife's pension providers, the DWP and the Inland Revenue. I phoned and it was straightforward.

Sorry to ramble on - I was thinking of what I had to do.
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As Blodwyn has indicated, you should not need a solicitor for the UK apartment, assuming it is a standard joint ownership without any restrictions on the title. The Land Registry will simply remove your wife's name from the title when they have seen evidence of her death. If you have ever been involved in a tax planning exercise, the joint ownership might possibly have been severed, in which case there will be a restriction to be dealt with at some point. The Land Registry entries for the property are easily obtained and will show any such restrictions.
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Firstly my sincere condolences. My husband passed away 7 weeks ago so I have some idea of what you're going through.

Secondly take a deep breath. I've found, as I wandered around the town with my little speech and copies of the death certificate that everyone is incredibly sympathetic and helpful. Nobody expects you to do everything at once. All the French I spoke to said the admin was far too labour intensive after a death. I can't answer for whether or not a notaire is necessary but I decided to let ours handle the French succession as I have a rather complicated UK probate to deal with. The thought of chasing up banks to release funds when I can't even say his name without crying was too much.
My advice, go at your own pace, you need to look after yourself at a time like this.

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