Division of an Estate in French Law
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Division of an Estate in French Law

French inheritance law states that in case a deceased parent had one child the reserved portion is 50 percent of the estate. This goes up to 67 percent in case there are two children and 75 percent in case the deceased parent had 3 or more than three children. The estate is split equally between the children. The balance of the estate can be disposed of by the holder to anybody he deems fit or wants to gift
French Property Law traces its roots to the days of the French Revolution of 1789. The law of inheritance is thus a distinct law that varies from English law. Under French property Law any estate of any person subject to French law is divided into two parts. The first part is what is known as the reserve legale. This is the reserved part of the estate that must be inherited by the children. The second part is the quotite disponible. This is that part of the estate which can be freely disposed by the owner by making a will. Thus any French estate has two distinct parts, one that is to be inherited by the children and the second that can be disposed as deemed fit by the owner by making a will. It needs to be understood that in case a person subject to French law has children, then the owner does not have any testamentary right to leave his or her assets to anybody else as desired. The inheritance rules are very strict and French law specifies that children must have rights to the deceased parent’s estate. The Droits de Sucession covers transfers of property as well as death duties and dictates who can inherit the deceased’s assets. Under French law, if an individual has children, they do not have testamentary freedom to leave assets to who they wish in whatever proportions they desire. Strict inheritance rules mean that children have certain rights to their deceased parent’s estate. The Droits de Succession covers death duties and lifetime transfers, and lays down who all can inherit the deceased's assets. The value of what is to be divided among the children (heirs) is to be determined by how many children a deceased parent had. There is no distinction between gender and sons and daughters are treated on an equal footing. In the absence of children a surviving spouse is entitled to 25% of the estate. French inheritance law states that in case a deceased parent had one child the reserved portion is 50 percent of the estate. This goes up to 67 percent in case there are two children and 75 percent in case the deceased parent had 3 or more than three children. The estate is split equally between the children. The balance of the estate can be disposed of by the holder to anybody he deems fit or wants to gift. With the advent of the European Union and France having joined it, the inheritance laws will have to be tuned to EU regulations. The basic EU law follow the principle that an EU national living in another member state will have the option of distributing his estate by either by French law or the law of his native country of residence. However the basic French inheritance law of automatic right of inheritance of children cannot be changed without amending the French constitution. This is because the right of children to inherit property is considered as “public order” in France. EU regulations will not come into force for another three years and thus the matter can be put on the back burner for now. .

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