Real estate expert

Certify the validity of your will in the case of an international succession

A will is an act through which a person, called a testator, expresses his last wishes and disposes of his property for  the period following his death.

Wills can be challenged in France for various reasons, including:
- If the will does not respect the conditions of capacity: for example, the testator did not have all his mental  capacities when he wrote it,
- If the will does not respect the conditions of form: the will has not been fully written, dated and signed by the hand  of the testator,
- If the will has been established for the benefit of a person who can not legally benefit from the legacy, for example, it has been established for the benefit of a nursing assistant who cared for the deceased person.
- If the will transgresses the rights of the heirs, this is the case if the value of the property bequeathed by will exceeds the limit in favor of the descendants of the deceased.

In the case of an international succession and even if the will has been established in France, it is first of all necessary to verify that these French rules are applicable.
Consequently, a will drawn up regularly in France will not necessarily be applied if the applicable law of succession declares it as invalid.
Estate Regulation No. 650/2012 of 4 July 2012 provides that the law applicable to the succession is the law of the last place of residence of the deceased
before his death, unless he has expressly made the choice to be applied his “national law”.

When a will is established, it is therefore strongly advised to also choose the law applicable to the estate to ensure
its future validity. Failing that, even if perfectly written, a will may be invalidated by the law of the last residence.

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Cabinet Roche & Cie, English speaking accountant in Lyon, France.
Specialist in French Real-Estate and Non-resident taxation.