I am looking legal information that applies to "Next of Kin" and wills in France:

My clients are an unmarried couple who are living in France; they are not French citizens. They have a current issue of inheritance. If they cannot hire a notary or lawyer to take care of this issue, what will happen if the husband passes away?


  1. The husband has a will which states that 50% of the inheritance will be given to his son (in fact, he has a daughter, too) and 50% to his wife;

  2. They both are living in a camp site and will move to a retirement place;

  3. They are not married, although have been in relationship for quite a long time and have no children;

  4. The husband is a British, and wife is an Asian.

  • To clarify: the husband is still alive? And he wants to draft a will himself without the help of a notary or lawyer? Mar 9, 2016 at 4:46
  • @BlueDogRanch YES. Mar 9, 2016 at 10:44
  • To get an idea of some of the issues (and solutions) surrounding this, see this.
    – user2822
    Mar 15, 2016 at 0:31
  • @hapax d'ajax, is there any English version? I've tried but it failed. Mar 15, 2016 at 3:01
  • 1
    @rusticmystic It's listing ways that English people use in France to avoid the French laws which prevent you from disinheriting family: 1) quotité disponible (not all of it must be directed to heirs so some of it is available to be given to other people) 2) Assurance-vie (life insurance payable to someone else) 3) Vente en viager (sell your house to your partner using a reverse mortgage) 4) Principes de droit international privé (if you live abroad then create a SCI which will be governed by foreign inheritance law) 5) Pacte tontinier (like forming a co-op to buy your house together)
    – ChrisW
    Mar 16, 2016 at 1:25

1 Answer 1


Since they live under french law, the unmarried couple or the couple who did not commit through a PACS do not have any rights on each others legacy

  • 3
    For those of us unfamiliar, can you please edit your answer to explain what PACS is, and add some links to some law that supports this?
    – jimsug
    Mar 12, 2016 at 21:19
  • 1
    Presumably, the fact that they are not married or PACSed is the reason they want a will. Does French law prohibit leaving property to an unrelated person? If not, you have described the premise of the question rather than an answer.
    – phoog
    Mar 14, 2016 at 5:00
  • Can the husband ask to be protected by the UK law? How is the procedure? Because according to the applicable law in France, once the will holder passes away, the inheritance will be passed ONLY to children; He is willing to inherit it to his wife. Mar 14, 2016 at 11:53
  • 1
    @rusticmystic I think that other French law the wife is entitled to a portion too. Furthermore she may be entitled to use though not to sell the whole estate for as long as she lives (e.g. to invest the money and live off the income, or to live in the family house without selling it), under the principle of usufruit (usufruct).
    – ChrisW
    Mar 16, 2016 at 1:15
  • 1
    @ChrisW: A wife would certainly be entitled to a portion - but the lady is not a wife. As such, I can say with some confidence she would not be entitle to anything under German law (and would have to pay a higher rate of tax if she was left anything). I don't know about French law. Jan 7, 2017 at 16:18

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