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Inheritance tax & unmarried couples


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We're looking to buy a house in France, but will remain UK residents and tax payers. We aren't married and I have no kids, but my partner has 2 from his previous marriage.

If we put the house in joint names, can I inherit my partner's half if he dies first or do the kids have to inherit? Would a PACS help and could it apply to UK residents?

Is it easier to put the house in my name only and for me to leave it all to my partner if I die first? If so, would he be able to inherit, or would it have to go to my siblings? (I don't have parents still living)

How does all this affect French inheritance tax?

Sorry to pose so many questions, but I'm confused!!

As you all seem to be able to explain matters in simple language, I'd be grateful for any info.


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Welcome to the Forum, Poppy.  If you search on the word 'inheritance' (box on top right), here is what you get:


French inheritance laws are very different from UK ones.  Children have to inherit, under the Napoleonic Code.  There are some fancy (but difficult) ways around this but I suggest that you read on....

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[quote user="MontyinFrance"]Hi

We are also not married, but have no children. My father has passed away and my partners are now French residents.

Does anyone have any thoughts?


There are TWO issues here. One is the succession law, under which certain relatives are "reserved inheriters" - in the absence of children, then parents/siblings may have a right to PART of the estate of the deceased.

The second issue is the TAX rules, which govern how much tax is to be paid in respect of the inheritances. In general, if the estate is left to someone (or some persons) other than a spouse or direct blood relative, then the zero-rated threshold is very low (of the order of 5K€? per person) and the percentage tax ramps up very quickly. Even for direct blood relatives, if the estate is valuable, you will find that there may be significant levels of tax to pay.



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