How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask TKenney, Ph.D. Your Own Question

TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience:  Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
52682299
Type Your French Law Question Here...
TKenney, Ph.D. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Mother says we are not entitled to inherit!

Customer Question

My father died 5 years ago and my parents owned a holiday flat in France. My parents have always been British citizens living in the UK and married without a marriage contract. My mother has kept the flat since my fathers death. They did make a will in France leaving it my mother. My mother still hasn't sorted out the French 'estate' and says that my sister and I are due nothing and that she is keeping the flat under 'usiefruit'. My sister and I have signed nothing to this effect and thought  we were due a sixth of the value of the flat each. My mother also says she can leave the flat to whomever she wishes when she dies. Can you let me know how long she has to complete the formalities of my fathers' death in France and if it's true that we are entitled to nothing from the estate. Could you let me know if she is entitled to 'disinherit' us and whether the value of the property to be considered is at the valuation at the time of his death.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Hello, you are asking 4 questions. Normally you are to ask one question, pay and then ask another question and pay again.


 


1) You asked: “Can you let me know how long she has to complete the formalities of my fathers' death in France” and


My answer :


In France there is no legal limit to complete the formalities. However, the sooner the formalities are done the less late penalty payment there will be to pay to the French tax authority. The French tax authority gives beneficiaries 6 months to complete the tax part of the inheritance. Maybe in your case there will be no French inheritance taxes to pay (I do not know your case, nor the facts of your case, so I do not know if you will have French inheritance taxes to pay or not). If there will be no French inheritance taxes to pay, then completing the tax formality after the 6 month deadline will not be a problem.


 


2) You asked: “if it's true that we are entitled to nothing from the estate."


My answer : According to what you wrote, under French law it is not true that you are entitled to nothing. (Again, I do not know your case or the facts of your case, my answer is based on the information that you gave me and your information could be incomplete).


 


Please understand that it is against the JustAnswer policy to advise customers on this website. While I am indeed a French lawyer in Paris, on this website, I am just a French law expert answering questions on French law and on my free time. I did not advise you, I just answered your question in accordance to what you can do under French law.


In order for me (or any lawyer, solicitor, or barrister) to counsel someone and tell them what they should do, I would need to see him/her (in person or on the phone), see all his/her documents, see all his/her evidence, get all the facts, understand the whole situation, ask a lot of questions, and establish a formal attorney client relation. In fact, the Just Answer disclaimer clearly states the following: "Posts are for general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), and do not establish a professional-client relationship." No attorney client relationship has been formed.


 


 


3) You asked: “Could you let me know if she is entitled to 'disinherit' us " ?


My answer :


In French law, it is illegal to disinherit children. Therefore, your mother can not disinherit you. Even if a parent’s will states that the children should be disinherited, the French law will prevail and that portion of the will will not be taken into account. However, as I wrote above, I do not know your case or the facts of your case, my answer is based on the information that you gave me and your information could be incomplete. For example, when the parents’ matrimonial regime is the Universal regime, then the children get nothing and the estate goes 100% to the surviving parent.


 


4) You asked: “whether the value of the property to be considered is at the valuation at the time of his death."


My answer :


The value of the property is the value at the time of any given moment that concerns a legal action that is being taken or to be taken. The value of the property can change. The value at death is the value at death, but if the property looses value after the death, the value of the property is the value and at the time of the legal action that is being taken after the death. The value of the property is only important to calculate the French inheritance taxes, and the French tax authority will use the value of the property at on the date of the death.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

According to the infromation you provided, it appears that you and your sister are beneficiairies to your father estate in France. If this is indeed the case, then you and your sister have to do the formalities too in France and not only your mother. Maybe this is what's holding up everyting. Maybe your mother does not want you and your sister to know your rights in France and what you are entitled to as surviving children beneficiaries. You should contact a French lawyer and have that lawyer contact your mother's notaire. You can also have your own notaire. You can get your French lawyer to contact a French Notaire for you. This will definitely speed things up.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

I am glad I was able to answer your question. Please don’t forget to provide a positive rating so I can get credit for the service I provided to you. If the answer was particularly helpful a BONUS is always appreciated too! Best regards XXXXX XXXXX!

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Also, if it is true that your mother has the flat under French "usufruit," that means that the flat belongs 100% to you and your sister, that your mother has the use of the flat until she dies (she can even rent it out and make money), that she is not the owner (you and your sister are the owners, but with no say so or use of the flat - you can't even sell it while she is alive), and that your mother can not leave it to whomever she wishes when she dies. When your mother dies, you and your sister can use the property (even rent it out and make money or sell it). You can only get the property when your mother dies or if you and your sister buy your mother out (in French law, you buy the usufruit).

Customer:

Hi there,

Customer:

Hi there, thanks for the reply which has been very helpful. I would just ask you to clarify one point. Is it possible for my mother to decide that the flat is to be passed under 'usifruit' without my sister and I being in agreement. I would have thought that to do this my sister and I would need to sign documents to this effect?

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Th usufruit is not something that your mother decided. It is the French law in the absence of a will stating otherwise. This is to protect the surviving spouse from being on the streets. There is nothing you and your sister needed to do and can do to prevent uusfruit. this is the positio under French law to protect the surving spouse from being kicked out of the house and on the streets.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Hello there. The usufruit is not something that your mother decided. It is the French law in the absence of a will stating otherwise. This is to protect the surviving spouse from being on the streets. There is nothing you and your sister needed to do and can do to prevent usufruit. This is the position under French law to protect the survivng spouse from being kicked out of the house and on the streets.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

I am glad I was able to answer your question. Please don’t forget to provide a positive rating so I can get credit for the service I provided to you. If the answer was particularly helpful a BONUS is always appreciated too! Best regards XXXXX XXXXX!

Customer:

This seems to contradict the fact that we are entitled to a share in the inheritance of the flat. Does it pass to Usiefruit if we don't claim our entitlement? Otherwise the spouse is basically entitled to do what he/she wants with the property and bypass giving anything to the children until she dies!

TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 825
Experience: Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
TKenney, Ph.D. and other French Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Could you please confirm that there is nothing we can eventualy claim if my mother has decided to keep the flat under usiefruit whilst my mother is still alive.

Expert:  TKenney, Ph.D. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again : 1) You wrote : “This seems to contradict the fact that we are entitled to a share in the inheritance of the flat.”

My answer :

This is not in contradiction to the French law. Please reread what I wrote above.

Under French law, "usufruit" rights means, your mother is not the owner of the flat You and your sister are the owners or “nu-propriétaires” of the flat. This is not contradicting the fact that you are entitled to a share of the inheritance of the flat.

Under French law "usufruit," means that the flat belongs 100% to you and your sister (50% to you and 50% to your sister), but that your mother has the full use of the flat until she dies (she can even rent it out and make money from the flat). Under French law, "usufruit" rights, you and your sisters have no say so on the use of the flat - you can't even sell it while your mother is alive (you can’t even make money from it while your mother is alive, unless you buy her out or she agrees. Because your mother is not the owner but the user, she can not leave it to whomever she wishes when she dies. When your mother dies, you and your sister will have 100% control of the flat and you will be able to use the property (even rent it out and make money off of it or sell it). Under French law, because your mother has “usufruit” rights, you can only get the property when your mother dies or if you and/or your sister buy your mother out (in French law, you would buy the usufruit).

2) You wrote : “it pass to Usiefruit if we don't claim our entitlement?

My answer :

Under French law, one must officially refuse to accept the inheritance in writing. Not claiming your entitlement does not mean that you refuse to accept the inheritance.

If you refuse the inheritance, then your sister will get the 100% of the flat.

According to what you wrote, it passed the usufruit rights because of the will (and maybe even the antenuptial agreement).

3) You wrote : "Otherwise the [surviving] spouse is basically entitled to do what he/she wants with the property and bypass giving anything to the children until she dies!"

My answer :

Yes, this is correct and this is the position under French “usufruit” rights law. However, your mother can not destroy the flat. And you and your sister will be responsible for all major repairs to the flat.

4) You wrote : “Could you please confirm that there is nothing we can eventualy claim if my mother has decided to keep the flat under usiefruit whilst my mother is still alive.er can not destroy the place.”

My answer :

Under French inheritance law, there is nothing to claim. Under French inheritance law, either the beneficiaries accept the inheritance or they formally refuse the inheritance. Under French law, you and your sister will have to accept the inheritance if you want to be the “nu-propriétaire.” This will also mean that you accept all the duties of the “nu-propriétaire.”

 

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • TKenney, Ph.D.

    French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)

    Satisfied Customers:

    785
    Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawyerAvocat/2013-2-18_172451_balance000.64x64.jpg TKenney, Ph.D.'s Avatar

    TKenney, Ph.D.

    French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)

    Satisfied Customers:

    785
    Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AV/A.Valcke/2013-7-8_11622_valcke1.64x64.jpg A.Valcke's Avatar

    A.Valcke

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    70
    Lawyer with Maîtrise en droit & Licence spéciale en droit européen.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CH/chathamchamber/2011-4-24_191833_1.64x64.jpg INC's Avatar

    INC

    Solicitor-Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    93
    LL.B, Pg.Dip, LL.M, M.B.A (Pending), Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/JoseMagadan/2013-6-27_16279_IMG6290copia.64x64.JPG José M.'s Avatar

    José M.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    437
    Spanish Attorney
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TG/TGraham12/2012-7-17_81212_bigstockBusinessHandshake508163.64x64.jpg Thomas's Avatar

    Thomas

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    45
    UK based Immigration Solicitor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Topadvisor/2010-5-18_221239_Me.jpg Top_advisor's Avatar

    Top_advisor

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31
    Solicitor and Attorney
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Barrister
TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D.
Barrister
825 Satisfied Customers
Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US