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Ask TKenney, Ph.D. Your Own Question
TKenney, Ph.D.
TKenney, Ph.D., French Attorney (Avocat à la Cour)
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 831
Experience:  Practicing law in France, 10+ years of experience on Paris Bar. Taught French Business Law in US
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My grandmother on my fathers side passed way december 2008.

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My grandmother on my father's side passed way december 2008.

My grandmother had two kids, my father and his sister.

In 1999, my grandmother gave away an apartment to her daughter as "donation entre vifs en avancement d’hoirie".

As my father passed away 1988, me and my 2 siblings should inherit his part.

The decedent state of my grandmother was closed without involving me nor my siblings.

We now want to open the decedent state again, so that we can have our rightful share of my grandmother's estate.

My father's sister has refused contact and her lawyer is not responding to our inquiries.

What we have understood is that we have the right to 1/2 of our grandmother's estate, and that the current market value of the apartment is to be included in the decedent state.

We have been told that we must go to court before december 2013, but our lawyer who started the case in 2009 has taken very long time to proceed.

Is it correct that we 3 grandchildren have the right to inherit 1/2 of the decedent state, and that the apartment should be included at market price?

Is it correct that we must go to court before december 2013 (5 years after she passed away)?

If we asked a french lawyer to take our case to court, how long time could we expect that to take?

Thank you very much.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Hello. In French law it is forbidden to disinherit one's child. In French law, your father is entitled to a percentage of the estate of his mother. Because he died before his mother, your father's share should go to you and your siblings.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

The percentage that you and your siblings should receive can be 50% or 35 percent of the value of the apartment.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

One would need to know more about your case to know the percentage.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

Because your father was left out of the estate/succession and you and your siblings did not get anything, you and your siblings can contest the estate before a French court.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

However, there is a statue of limitation of 5 years to contest the estate/succession starting from the opening of the succession, this is the date your grandmother died.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

After 5 years there is nothing you and your siblings will be able to do.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

The value of the apartment will be the value at the date of the death of your grandmother.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

However, because you will be getting a percentage, the market value today will count too. The market value at death is for inheritance tax purposes. The market value today is in the event of a sale.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

If you and your lawyer have not done anything before the competent French court, then there must be an unresolved problem between you and your lawyer or maybe your lawyer does not have all the necessary elements to commence a court trial.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

After 5 years from december 2008, there will be nothing you can do.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

I forgot to mention that the gift your grandmother gave to your aunt was an "avancement d'hoirie". In French law this is an advance of the inheritance, and if your aunt was given too much the French court can reduce the amount she was to get and give you and your siblings the amount you should have received. This is why the apartment will be included in the estate.

TKenney, Ph.D. :

I am glad I was able to answer your question. Please do not forget to rate me positively so that I may receive credit for my work.

TKenney, Ph.D. and other French Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the positive rating and the bonus. In your case, time is of the essence. To help your French lawyer save time here are a few articles of the French law pertaining to your situation :

- Article 843 of the French civil code (about gifts giving before the death must be mentioned in the estate of the deceased and can not exceed the reserved amount);
- Article 1077-2 of the French civil code (about gifts and when one can begin a court action for reduction); and
- Article 921 of the French civil code (about the 5 year statute of limitation for commencing a court action for a reduction),
The following articles can also be helpful : articles 833-1, 866, and 1078 of the French civil code.

I made it sound easy but there are a lot of calculations that need to done. The percentage that you and your siblings should receive can be 50% or 50% of 35 percent (or one third) of the value of the apartment. Your lawyer should ask for the maximum with interest, and the court will decide the exact amount.

Good luck
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much.



I just realized also, if possible, could you shed some light on the last question?


"If we asked a french lawyer to take our case to court, how long time could we expect that to take?"



I would also be very interested in case you know of any french lawyer that also speaks English which you think could take this case. Or if you would have any suggestion/recommendation of where to look.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

(accidentally double posted)