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Inheritance Tax re spouses


Sarajane

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I understand that inheritance tax is payable in France even between spouses whereas it is exempt in the UK. Is this always the case or are there ways to avoid it? We have no children so will be leaving everything to each other and we are worried that whoever is left will face a hefty tax which we could ill afford. Thanks in advance.
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Yes your spouse can inherit without paying inheritance tax, your Notaire can advise you and set it up for you by changing your marriage regime to that of Communaute Universelle.

Inheritance tax on the disposal of wealth (on the death of the surviving partner) over and above the value of your property can also be reduced (from, for example 60% for non relatives) to potentially zero through the use of an "Assurance Vie", the benefits being maximised if this is set up prior to becoming French resident. It is also fiscally advantageous during your own lifetimes.

A company such as Siddalls, www.siddalls.net, or Blevins Frank can advise. I would always advise taking proper financial advice before moving.
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My wife and I bought our house "en tontine". When she died the house became mine. I paid no inheritance tax at all. I suspect that the notaire may have accepted an undervaluation of the property from an immobilier who helped me at the time, the value of her share of the property attracted no tax at all. All I paid were the notaire's fee and some registration costs.
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