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How to make things easier for your family and heirs
2019-12-03 Eleanor Moore 0 Tax and Finance
Power of Attorney Granting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA or “mandat de protection future” in France) legally enables someone to make decisions about your property, finances and/or your health and welfare if you are unable to do so; it is particularly important when faced with a deteriorating mental state. The person(s) you appoint can help manage your bank accounts, property, investments and pensions, and/or decisions about your health. If you become mentally incapacitated without an LPA/mandat in force, an application to the UK Court of Protection/French courts would have to be made whenever anything needed to be decided regarding your assets – a costly and time-consuming process for your loved ones.
Your will Check this is up-to-date, taking into account major life events like moving house, getting married/divorced, and welcoming new family members. You may find it beneficial to have two wills – one for assets in France and a UK one for British-based assets. These should align and cross-reference each other to avoid conflict. While a UK will can be effective in France, after going through the UK probate process it must be translated and notarised before going through probate here, so separate wills can prevent delays and expense. The EU regulation ‘Brussels IV’ makes it possible to avoid French ‘forced heirship’ rules by nominating in your will for the relevant UK succession law to apply, but take advice as this can have unforeseen implications.
Pensions paperwork When first setting up your pension, you specify who will inherit your benefits through ‘expression of wish’ or ‘nominated beneficiary’ forms, but many people forget to update these over time. If there is confusion or a dispute over who should receive your benefits, usually the Trustee of your pension will make the final decision. Your pensions paperwork and will(s) should therefore be current and aligned with each other.
Tax planning While the France/UK double taxation treaty specifies that only UK assets are liable to UK inheritance tax, residents of France are liable for succession tax on their worldwide estate, including pensions. An extra gift you can leave heirs is structuring your estate to protect them from unnecessary taxation, so explore French-compliant opportunities that provide tax advantages during your lifetime as well as for your beneficiaries. Cross-border estate planning is complex and every family is different, so your approach should be personalised for your objectives and unique situation to secure peace of mind, for you and your heirs.
Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.
Article brought to you by By Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks TEL+33 5 49 75 07 24 EMAIL email@example.com www.blevinsfranks.com
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