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Communaute Universelle


Jever

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Hi,

I wonder if anyone here can help me with my particular problem.

The situation is that I bought a property in France jointly with my father in 2000 although we both still live in the UK.

Having become distanced from my brother, my father does not want any of the French property to pass to his hands on his death.

So far as I know, we have not bought 'en tontine' nor via an SCI.

If my father and I were to change our respective marriage regimes to 'Communaute Universelle' so that my wife receives my share on my death and my mother receives my father's share on his death, would we face any difficulties?

In particular, my concerns are:

Is a change of marital regime retroactive i.e. applicable to previously purchased properties?

Would we have to be living in France?

I assume my brother's approval would be required?

What would happen if, after the death of my father, my mother and I decided to sell?

I've heard that an SCI is an excellent solution to this problem, but does this lead to other problems such as a requirement for my brother's disinherited portion of the house to be made good from UK assets?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Jever
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it is difficult to see how you can change marriage regime when you are not living in France. You seem to be UK resident and as such you are married and living as per a UK marriage. You will need to investigate whether there is some mechanism that allows a UK marriage to be seen as a Communaute Universelle by the French system - I'm not sure anything exists.

The usual case for a UK marriage is that under French inheritance law the 50/50 separation of assets applies. In this case I can't any way in which your father could dis-inherit your brother, other than perhaps the creation of a SCI and here you will have to calculate the costs of setting up /running the company against the potential inheritance costs.

regs

Richard

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Hi Richard,

Thanks for the reply. You're right, both my father and I are UK based. However, we both plan, in the medium term, to relocate to France (with our wives!).

I anrticipate that we could change our marriage regime on relocation, presumably by consulting a notaire.

This would have the benefit of the whole of my father's half of the property passing to my mother on his death.

The only sticking points, as I see it, are

- that my brother's approval would be required for the change of regime (but then how would the notaire know I have a brother, if my father keeps quiet?)

- that the change of regime may not apply to assets bought before the change (although I expect it will) and

- that I am uncertain as to what might happen if my mother sold her half to me after my father's death.

By the way, does French law require that my brother's disinherited portion must be made good from UK assets if we use an SCI?

If only I'd looked at this before we bought!

Jever
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I have set up an SCI for me & my father' house purchase so that it it purely between us, and will not involve my mother (his ex), and my brothers.

I have 99% of the shares - a matter of trust between us - so that if my dad died before me he would leave his third of his 1% to me and I could buy my brothers out of the other 2/3rds.

We have english wills which we hope will be effective but not sure what will happen when he moves to France, and when I move - if ever I do.

All we could do is cover the situation as it stands now, and even then the proof of the pudding etc ...

It cost about 1,000 to set up.

Good Luck!
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