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What is a notary ? The notaire is a legal professional with a public authority mission. He prepares contracts in authentic form for his clients. Find out more

The notaire works as an independent professional.

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Investing in rental property Parliament has introduced a succession of schemes that encourage private individuals to invest in the residential rental property market, which sometimes overlap. YOU WANT TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE NEW? Find out more

The PINEL device 

It is open to persons who acquire before December 31, 2017 new or future housing completion.

Under certain conditions, it entitles the holder to a tax reduction equal to 12%, 18% or 21% of the cost price of the building, with a maximum limit of € 300,000 depending on whether the buyer undertakes to Rent its property for 6, 9 or 12 years.

Terms and conditions
To qualify, the future owner must rent the property for at least 6 years, as the tenant's principal residence. He may be a descendant or an ascendant, provided that he is not part of his household.
The tenant's resources and the amount of the rent must not exceed certain ceilings which depend on the geographical location of the dwelling.

Housing-related characteristics
The property must respect an overall energy performance level according to the type of acquisition and be located in certain areas of the territory marked by a strong imbalance between supply and rental demand.


Censi-Bouvard device

It is intended for those who purchase new housing intended to be rented furnished before 31 December 2017.

The accommodation must be located in a residence for students or for elderly or handicapped persons.

The tax reduction is equal to 11% of the cost of housing. The amount of investments eligible for the tax reduction is retained up to € 300,000 per year, regardless of the number of homes acquired.

The property must be rented furnished and be the object of a commercial lease signed with the operator of the residence for a minimum duration of 9 years.

It is possible to benefit from the Censi-Bouvard scheme for housing completed for at least 15 years and having been rehabilitated.



The Malraux device (allows owners of old buildings to benefit from very attractive tax benefits) 

Housing concerned:
- Dwellings in bare areas to protect the architectural heritage, urban and landscape (ZPPAUP) and in conservation areas and use main residence of the tenant.

Location of accommodation:
- Metropolitan France and overseas

Length of contract: 9 years

tax reduction attributable directly (ceiling of € 100,000 / year works during 4 years):
- 30% of the restoration work for buildings sector saved
- 22% of the work in protected areas of the architectural, urban and landscape (ZPPAUP).

Restrictions to the tenant: The tenant should not belong to the taxpayer of the lessor or be ascendant or descendant.

Civil Partnership (Pacs) The PACS provides unmarried couples the opportunity to organize their life together, with some social and tax advantages to boot.­ Find out more
  • How do we establish a "Pacs" ?

    • A Civil Partnership or ­PACS may be established by a private or notarial instrument.

    • It is registered at the district court of the partners’ joint place of residence. All the formalities as regards establishing the PACS are centralised on a single register held at the registry of the court that recorded the initial instrument.

    • The fact of a PACS being established, or cancelled, is noted in the margin of each partner’s birth certificate together with the name of the other partner.

    • The PACS takes effect between the partners from when it is registered. It is binding on third parties from the day on which the publication formalities are completed.

    • New: From 1 November 2017, registration of the PACS will take place in the town hall (and no longer in the court of first instance). The bill to modernize the justice of the XXI century has provided for the transfer to the registrar powers vested in the Registrar for PACS by private deed. Of course, the possibility of signing its Pacs his french notaire is maintained.

  • What are the effects for the partner ?

    • The French Civil Code provides for the partners’ obligation to live together. They also have a duty to provide material support and mutual assistance.

    • Solidarity between partners does not apply to debts that are clearly excessives.

  • What are the effects for properties ?

    • In terms of prope­rty, separation of property becomes the rule and undivided shares, the exception.

    • In case of death, the surviving partner may remain free one year in housing which was the main residence of the couple (even if the deceased was the sole owner).

    • Remember, without Wills , the partner will never inherit the PACS.

  • Life insurance: the PACS couples should he make a will?

    • The amount of money from a life insurance contract paid to a surviving PACS partner, upon the death of his companion, are exempt from inheritance tax ... even in the absence of a will.

What documents must be supplied by the seller ? When selling property in France, the seller has to supply a wide range of compulsory documents to enable the notaire to draw up a first draft of the sale contract called a "compromis". Find out more

To save time, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible so that we may list the documents required in your own particular case and possibly collect some of them for you.

These documents may be organised in several distinct categories :

- property rights : a copy of the contract of purchase and a copy of the most recent property tax notice in your possession

- personal information about the seller : a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a copy of any matrimonial or partnership agreement, full home address, a family booklet recording births, marital status and death if such exists in your country ("livret de famille"), bank references,

- construction work in the building or apartment : authorisations , bills,

- technical reports : lead, asbestos, termites, gas and electric appliances, energy performance, natural and technological risks, septic tank...

- a certificate of surface,

- co-ownership : co-ownership rules and any and all amendments, minutes of the meetings over the past three years.


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What is a notary ? The notaire is a legal professional with a public authority mission. He prepares contracts in authentic form for his clients. Find out more

The notaire works as an independent professional.

Download (272Ko)
New international successions rules The new European Regulation on international successions has come into application in the European Union. It concerns all Member States except the UK, Ireland and Denmark. Find out more

The regulation essentially brings the principle of the unity of the law of succession: now one national law will govern the whole of the estate. By default, it will be the law of the habitual residence of the deceased but it may also be the national law if the person has made that choice before his death. It should be noted that the Regulation has a universal scope. Thus, by default, a Korean national habitually reside in Marseille would French law applicable to his succession, unless he had previously opted for Korean law. 

The regulation governs only the aspects of civil law. Estate tax is not affected by the European regulation. So the usual rules still apply.

The persons resident in France and have another nationality are invited to attach with us to discuss the possible need for a choice of law. Indeed, from one country to another, the rules on reserves and the protection of the surviving spouse can be very different from what we usually know.

Please contact Maître Christine Besse, in charge of estate planning and family law ( - or any of the other notaires who will be happy to provide any legal help and assistance you may need.

For more information about regulations governing successions in other European countries :

Succession law in 22 European countries


You are the buyer : Immo-Interactif The property you wish to acquire is being sold via a notarial bidding process: Immo-Interactif®. Find out more

Designed by notaries as an innovative and exclusive solution, Immo-Interactif® enables a property to be sold quickly. The advantage for the buyer is that they can position their offer in relation to those of other potential buyers and make higher bids if necessary.

Click here to see the brochure.

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International Marriage: Mind the legal effects! Marrying a foreign national, French people marrying abroad or simply living abroad once married results in major legal effects on marriage law. The expression "international marriage" applies to all these situations. Find out more

Globalisation has resulted in greater numbers of couples of mixed nationality as well as increased mobility.
Whether spouses are of different nationalities, foreigners getting married in France or French people marrying abroad or even more complex situations, the people concerned are often ill-informed about the law governing the marriage. The rules vary from one country to another.
People wanting to marry should therefore enquire about the formalities they need to complete in order to get married, but also about the matrimonial property which will be applicable in case of no matrimonial contract or about the consequences of separation due to divorce or death.
This information is important because the applicable matrimonial property is not necessarily that of the country of which the spouses are natives or that of the country where the marriage takes place, but that of the spouses’ first usual residence, i.e. the place where they lived and worked immediately after getting married.

If you have not made any plans, certain legal rules (of your country or another) will automatically apply. Spouses are strongly advised to draw up a marriage contract in which they specify the matrimonial regime they wish to apply.

They also have much greater freedom than French couples: the Hague convention dated 14 March 1978 enables international couples to choose a matrimonial regime under:

  • the national law of one of the spouses,
  • the law of the country where one of the spouses was living before the marriage,
  • the law of the country where one of the spouses will be living after the marriage takes place or, for real estate,
  • the law of the country in which the property is located.

In other words, a professional should be consulted, for them to make the right choice.

Another advantage of this approach is that schemes chosen as a result of an informed choice will apply whatever happens to the spouses subsequently, thereby avoiding the application of another rule laid down by the Hague convention, namely that after 10 years living in a given State, the matrimonial regime of that State automatically applies.

Contact us if you are, or are likely to be, in a situation of international marriage. A marriage contract may be the solution to protect you against uncertainty and unpleasant surprises.

Rights of the surviving spouse in France The law has made major changes to rules on inheritance with respect to the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse is now considered a genuine heir , unless of course there has been a divorce or judicial separation. But this does not mean that the surviving spouse always inherits everything. Sometimes he/she inherits alone but sometimes he/she inherits in common with the members of his/her deceased spouse's family. Find out more
  • Note: the rules set out below are valid only in the absence of a will made by the deceased . If a will has been established, a notaire must be consulted to determine the share of the surviving spouse.

  • If a deceased has surviving children born of the union with his/her surviving spouse :

    • T­he surviving spouse can inherit either the usufruct of the deceased's property (i.e. the right to use the property or enjoy the income from it) or theownership of one quarter, at his/her choice.
      It is very important for the surviving spouse to make this choice properly as any other heir may request that he/she does so.
      Unless the surviving spouse has chosen in writing within three months of the heir making such a request, the surviving spouse is considered to have opted for the usufruct.

    • The solution is the same if the surviving spouse him/herself dies before making a choice. The differences between usufruct and freehold are important, but once again, no solution is either all good or all bad in itself. Every case is different. You should therefore ask your notaire to examine the situation before you take any decision which is theoretically final.

    • The usufruct owned by a spouse can be converted into a life annuity if the spouse or an heir so asks.

    • If there is disagreement, you can apply to a judge provided no final division has been made.

    • However, the surviving spouse must always give his/her consent before the usufruct of his/her main residence and the movable property it contains is converted.

    • Usufruct can also be converted into capital, but again the mutual agreement between the surviving spouse and the heirs is required.

  • If the deceased spouse has children other than those from the union:

    • The surviving spouse has no choice but to accept ownership of one quarter of the deceased's property.

  • If the deceased spouse leaves no children but or survived by his/her father and mother:

    • The surviving spouse receives half of the deceased's property while the parents receive one quarter each.

  • If the deceased spouse only leaves his/her father or mother:

    • The surviving spouse receives three-quarters of the property while the parent receives the remaining quarter.

  • If the deceased spouse has no children, grandchildren, father or mother:

    • The surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate other than property the deceased received as gifts or inheritance from his/her parents.

    • Half of this property reverts to the brothers and sisters of the deceased or their children or grandchildren.

    • It should also be borne in mind that under all circumstances, the surviving spouse is entitled to the free enjoyment of the accommodation that was the couple's main residence and use the furniture it contains for one year after the death.

    • If the surviving spouse is the tenant of the premises, the rent is deducted from the estate, i.e. it must be paid by the other heirs.

  • Rights of the surviving spouse and accomodation

    • Temporary housing allowance (for one year)

    • In all cases, the surviving spouse is entitled to the free enjoyment of the dwelling occupied as the principal residence and of the furniture furnishing it for one year after the death.

      If the surviving spouse is the tenant of the dwelling the rents are to be borne by the estate, ie the heirs.

    • Right to life (right of permanent residence)

    • In addition, unless the deceased spouse has expressed a wish to the contrary in a notarised Will, the surviving spouse is entitled to live in the accommodation that was the couple's main residence and use the furniture it contains that are part of the estate until his/her own death.

    • In order to exercise this right, the surviving spouse must claim it within one year of the death. It is important to get in touch with your notaire very quickly if you are to protect your rights. At this stage an inventory of themovables and a report on the condition of the building may be drawn up inorder to avoid disagreements.

    • Under exceptional circumstances, if the accommodation is no longer suitable for the surviving spouse's needs, he/she may let it out for non-commercial, non-agricultural use in order to receive income for use on other accommodation such as a retirement home.

    • This right of use and accommodation is deducted from the surviving spouse's share of the estate. If the value of this right is lower than the surviving spouse's share of the estate, he/she is entitled to have it topped up.

    • Otherwise the surviving spouse retains the entire profit and owes nothing to the other heirs. 

    • The surviving spouse and the other heirs may come to an agreement to convert this right into a life annuity or a capital sum.

    • Moreover, the law favours the surviving spouse when allocating the couple's main residence and the movables furnishing it during the division of an estate.
      Time period for payment may be granted to the surviving spouse if, during the division he/she is found to owe monetary compensation to the other heirs.

    • Finally, if the surviving spouse is in financial difficulties, he/she may, within one year of the death, claim an allowance from the other heirs. 

Notaires as property specialists Notaires are there to advise you. They are legal specialists with a public authority assignment who draw up authenticated contracts on behalf of their clients and ensure that transactions are secure. Find out more

Notaires make transfers of immovable property ownership certain by securing every stage of the transaction.

They have a very detailed property database, which all the French notaires update at their own initiative, and therefore have thorough knowledge of the market and prices. They are able to determine the value of property and perform property valuation.

  • Notaires as property negotiators

    • Their in-depth knowledge of the property market and how it works enables certain notaires to negotiate property and support both sellers and buyers in their search. 

    • Since 1 March 2016, this activity is not subject to a national rate.

    • To the negotiation fees should be added the purchase costs to be paid under all circumstances which include the dues and taxes payable to the State but also the notaire’s remuneration for drawing up the authentic instrument of sale.

    • Consult the French property market analysed by Notaires de France.

  • Your notaire is the only contact person you need

    • You can entrust your entire property project to your notaire : from signing the preliminary contract to the final deed of sale, from administrative formalities (preliminary statements, expiry of pre-emption rights, etc.) to calculating the various taxes and declaring them to the appropriate authorities.

    • Furthermore, your notaire will draw up any statements relating to capital gains tax on property and pay the tax to the appropriate authorities by direct deduction at source from the selling price.

  • The Notaire is your guarantee of legal certainty

    • In France all property sales go through a notaire. As public officers they ensure the contract is performed correctly and, in addition to confidentiality, guarantee the necessary legal certainty.

    • They prepare the documents beforehand thereby preventing the majority of subsequent disputes. There are over one hundred legal and tax points to which notaires pay careful attention when drawing up the deed of sale.

    • For example, notaires may :
      - ask the parties to the contract for proof of their identities and marital status,
      - check the seller's instrument of title, the property’s mortgage status, agreed easements and applicable town planning regulations,
      - expiry of pre-emption rights,
      - check that the compulsory pre-sale diagnoses are performed before the preliminary contract is signed.

    • Their considerable legal knowledge and awareness of any amendments to legislation are the best legal guarantee when the preliminary contract is drawn up (before the deed of sale). You will not therefore have any unpleasant surprises.

    • Once the instrument is signed, it becomes the subject of a major formality: land registration which involves recording the legal status of the property at the land registry office. The aim is to keep a record of the rights of ownership over the building and the mortgages taken out on it. In their capacity as public officers, notaires have the monopoly over access to this file.

    • Finally, the notaire guarantees the title deeds by keeping them for 75 years in their office. After 100 years they are archived in the national records and will soon be stored electronically.

    • Notaires also provide legal and tax advice on housing development, construction and renovation projects.

    • Lastly, notaires who manage property provide investors with all the necessary expertise to do so efficiently.

French forced heirship rules Under French private international law, upon the death of a non-French citizen any property owned in France, must be bequeathed to his/her heirs. Find out more

Under French inheritance law, one part of the estate of a deceased is reserved to his/her children (if not: to his/her parents): •ifthe deceased has one child, half of the estate must go to him/her. • if the deceased leaves two children, two thirds of the estate must be bequeathed between them (one third each). • if the deceased leaves three or more children, three/fourths are “reserved” to them.

We are able to explain how to avoid forced heirship rules.

Contact Christine BESSE ( - +33 4 92 17 34 34)


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