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Estate planning

France

We advise individuals regarding the transfer of their personal and business assets within their family or to third parties such as endowment funds.

Support tailored to your personal situation

Our recognised expertise in civil law (gift and inheritance law, matrimonial regime, liquidation of succession, incapacity) and gratuitous transfer tax (in particular, the “Dutreil” tax exemption system for family business assets) allows us to offer solutions tailored to our clients’ specific situations. We support them at every stage of the transfer of their assets from the time they consider their options to the execution of their decision. To better serve our clients ‘needs and offer a comprehensive response to their issues, we may involve other teams of experts within the firm, such as corporate and income tax lawyers.

Expertise bolstered by extensive practical experience

Trust and communication are at the heart of our team’s working relationship with you. We are fully committed to securing your plans from a technical perspective and ensuring their success.

We advise our clients on the following issues:

  • Restructuring of business assets before donation;
  • Disposition inter vivos for private and professional assets, particularly donation of company shares;
  • Transfer institutions such as shared donation “donation partage”, cross-generational shared donation “donation-partage transgénérationnelle”, manual gift;
  • Civil and tax conditions of the donation;
  • Will;
  • Life insurance;
  • Division of property (usufruct and bare ownership, quasi-usufruct, co-ownership);
  • Initial choice of the matrimonial regime;
  • Modification of the matrimonial regime during the time of the marriage (e.g. full community property, separation of property with ”société d’acquêts”, etc.)
  • Protection of the property of family members (in particular, minors and incapacitated adults), notably by establishing corporate structures.
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20/12/2018
In­ter­na­tion­al pat­ri­mo­ni­al law: new de­vel­op­ments re­gard­ing couples
On 29 Janu­ary 2019, two European reg­u­la­tions will take ef­fect - the first re­gard­ing the mat­ri­mo­ni­al prop­erty re­gime and the oth­er re­gard­ing re­gistered part­ner­ships - and will change the private in­ter­na­tion­al law of the 18 par­ti­cip­at­ing Mem­ber States, in­clud­ing France. For all of these Mem­ber States, the law that ap­plies to the mat­ri­mo­ni­al prop­erty re­gime is, in prin­ciple, the law of the Mem­ber State in which the couple first resides once mar­ried. However, couples may choose an­oth­er Mem­ber State’s law, sub­ject to cer­tain rules.Identic­al private in­ter­na­tion­al law rules for the 18 Mem­ber States of the European Uni­onAs of 29 Janu­ary 2019, 18 of the 28 Mem­ber States of the European Uni­on will ap­ply the same cri­ter­ia to de­term­ine the law that ap­plies to the prop­erty of couples (Reg­u­la­tion 2016/1103 for mar­ried couples and Reg­u­la­tion 2016/1104 for the prop­erty con­sequences of re­gistered part­ner­ships).These reg­u­la­tions avoid con­flicts of laws and jur­is­dic­tion between the 18 Mem­ber States. They also re­solve is­sues re­gard­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion and shar­ing of the as­sets of “in­ter­na­tion­al” couples, i.e. couples who have as­sets in mul­tiple Mem­ber States or who change their State of res­id­ence.These reg­u­la­tions do not af­fect the do­mest­ic law of the Mem­ber States. For France, the primary mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime that es­tab­lishes the rights and du­ties of spouses, and the rules that ap­ply to the leg­al re­gime gov­ern­ing joint own­er­ship of prop­erty ac­quired after mar­riage and to con­trac­tu­al re­gimes (such as full com­munity of prop­erty, sep­ar­a­tion of prop­erty with or with a part­ner­ship of ac­quests) re­main un­changed.Ex­ampleA Franco-Ger­man couple who mar­ries in March 2019 without a con­tract and without choos­ing a State’s law, and who takes up res­id­ence in Ger­many once mar­ried, is sub­ject to the Ger­man leg­al sys­tem of “joint own­er­ship of ac­quired prop­erty” in ac­cord­ance with Reg­u­la­tion 2016/1103, in which France and Ger­many are par­ti­cip­at­ing Mem­ber States. If this couple changes its State of res­id­ence and moves to France, this change will not im­pact their mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime, which was not al­ways the case in the past. If they wish to change their mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime by choos­ing the French leg­al sys­tem, they may do so val­idly at any time dur­ing their mar­riage as one of the spouses is French. The French mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime will then ap­ply in the fu­ture un­less the spouses de­cide oth­er­wise.Who do these reg­u­la­tions ap­ply to?The mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime reg­u­la­tion ap­plies not only to couples who marry after 29 Janu­ary 2019, but also to those who were mar­ried be­fore this date and who change mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime after said date.For part­ners, the reg­u­la­tion ap­plies to those who enter in­to a re­gistered part­ner­ship after 29 Janu­ary 2019 or who des­ig­nate the law that ap­plies to their part­ner­ship after said date. For France, the re­gistered part­ner­ship is a “PACS”.Rules to be aligned with those that ap­ply to es­tates and di­vorceWith these reg­u­la­tions, the European Uni­on is pur­su­ing its en­deav­ours to stand­ard­ise private in­ter­na­tion­al leg­al rules re­gard­ing pat­ri­mo­ni­al mat­ters to ad­dress the is­sues raised by the mo­bil­ity of per­sons and goods, in par­tic­u­lar through the “Suc­ces­sion” Reg­u­la­tion 650/2012, which took ef­fect on 17 Au­gust 2015. Choos­ing the ap­plic­able law is au­thor­ised un­der these reg­u­la­tions. It is there­fore pos­sible to have the laws of a single Mem­ber State - in par­tic­u­lar, the Mem­ber State of one’s na­tion­al­ity - ap­ply to one’s mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime and suc­ces­sion re­gime. This sim­pli­fies and se­cures the set­tle­ment of es­tates, as in­her­it­ance and mat­ri­mo­ni­al is­sues are re­lated. In the ab­sence of a choice of law, and the cri­ter­ia to de­term­ine the laws that ap­ply be­ing dif­fer­ent for mat­ri­mo­ni­al and suc­ces­sion re­gimes, there is a risk of these is­sues be­ing gov­erned by the laws of dif­fer­ent Mem­ber States, which could cre­ate dif­fi­culties when one de­ceases.With re­gard to a di­vorce, there is a sig­ni­fic­ant risk that it will not be settled by ap­ply­ing the laws of the same Mem­ber State. In fact, the cri­ter­ia to de­term­ine the ap­plic­able law dif­fer de­pend­ing on wheth­er the is­sues in­volve the reas­ons for the di­vorce, in­ter­im meas­ures, par­ent­al au­thor­ity or com­pens­a­tion be­ne­fits. Here again, couples may choose the law that ap­plies to the causes of the di­vorce in ad­vance and choose the same law that ap­plies to their mat­ri­mo­ni­al re­gime.Con­clu­sion: Down­load our spe­cif­ic bro­chure with ex­amples
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