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Sonia G

UK Last will and testament with a European beneficiary living in France

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Hi,

I have a question about last wills and testaments. I am a dual French/British citizen married to a British citizen and we have lived in the UK for almost 20 years. We own a house in the UK (as joint tenants). We want to write a will that will say to whom we want our respective share of the house to go to once we are both dead. We have no children and won't be having any.

In my case, I want my share to go to my husband but I want to make sure that when he dies, if I'm already dead, my share goes to my siblings in France, who are French citizens, and not to my husband's family or new partner for example. Could someone please help me and let me know how I can make sure that his happens? Are there specific types of wills for UK people who want to leave their assets to someone in Europe? I have received very conflicting advice from some solicitors.

Thank you very much in advance!

Sonia G

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If solicitors have already given you conflicting advice I really don't think you can expect a highly complex matter like this, potentially involving the inheritance laws of two countries, to be resolved here! I don't think there are nay international tax and trust lawyers posting on this forum.

 

 

Maybe you need to research solicitors who specialise in international inheritance and tax? It's not just a matter of how the property gets to the beneficiary of your choice but also how English Inheritance Tax (and any French equivalent) will operate.

 

 

 

Do you have assets in France as well?

 

 

 

In principle you can write a Will that leaves a life interest in a house to your spouse, if you die before them, and then on their death it passes to your children. If the asset is in the UK and you are resident in the UK I don't think it matters where the beneficiaries are as far as English law is concerned, but it might matter in French law. I know nothing at all about French law. But I assume there are other complications. If it were that straightforward you presumably wouldn't have got conflicting advice from solicitors.

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It shouldn't make any difference which country the beneficiaries live in. The assets in this country would fall under UK jurisdiction as far as inheritance tax is concerned. But do be aware, Scottish law is slightly different to England & Wales, so you might need to clarify which part of the UK you are domiciled in.

 

The fact that you hold dual citizenship may complicate matters slightly, but I wouldn't have thought it made any real difference (but that is just my opinion).


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Thank you for the quick reply!

No, I only have assets in the UK, nothing in France.

To be honest, the solicitors that I contacted did not sound like they were sure at all and admitted that they were not specialised enough to advise fully on my case. They also recommended that I look for a solicitor specialised in international inheritance but I haven't found any where I live and I would have to travel quite far to meet one in person, so I thought that perhaps someone with a very similar situation and experience here could enlighten me.

My case is rather straight-forward as I explained above as we have no children and just want to protect our respective share for when we are both dead. I am aware that there may be inheritance tax issues between the 2 countries, and this is not my main concern. My main concern is to make sure that my share (which is a much bigger share than my husband's share) goes to my chosen benefiaries in France and not to his family or anyone else who may be able to claim my share when we are both dead (his estranged siblings for example).

 

Your reply rather sounds like a relief as you mention that it should not matter where the beneficiaries are if the case is 'straightforward'. I will try to get in touch with a solicitor specialised in international inheritance to confirm this...Thanks again.

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If this helps, I know someone in France who's writing a will at the moment and including UK beneficiaries. It doesn't seem to be a problem that way round.

 

 

HB


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Thank you! I'm going to enquire about the dual citizenship... good point there!

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Thank you, this answer really helps indeed...it's a relief, although we don't know what is going to happen between the 2 countries after Brexit...hopefully nothing will change on that matter...

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Thank you, this answer really helps indeed...it's a relief, although we don't know what is going to happen between the 2 countries after Brexit...hopefully nothing will change on that matter...

 

 

You would hope not, but nothing is clear at the moment. I know two people in the UK who were left money in the US or Canada and that came through eventually.

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thanks HB. Let's keep our fingers crossed. That Brexit situation is just so stressful and depressing at the moment...

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Not at alll. It makes situations that are not that easy even more uncertain and stressful...Let's hope it doesn't last for too long and that the outcomes will actually be positive...

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I think you would have to agree with your husband to rewrite HIS Will to benefit your French friends with a similar bequest to yours, otherwise the Executor will send any Bequests to recipients alive on your death.

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I wrote my will in favour of my sister in Italy who will get my house where my mum lives rent free.

A clause in the will states that she must let my mum stay there rent free until she dies or she's unable to look after herself.

Of course assuming that I die before my mum and sister.

So you could name your siblings as beneficiaries, providing they let your husband stay in your home until he dies.

If there's Any inheritance tax won't be your concern, so forget about it.

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