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Law firm in Paris : What are the new rules on international succession applicable from 17 August 2015?

What are the new rules on international succession applicable from 17 August 2015?

Since 17 August 2015, a major European Regulation dated 4 July 2012 has come into effect. The provisions of this Regulation apply where the deceased died on or after 17 August 2015.

The Regulation aims at unifying the laws on inheritance so that the assets left by the deceased, whether movable or immovable, will no longer be divided and subject to different laws. They will be subject to a single law, the law of the State in which the deceased had his habitual residence at time of death.

But this law also allows for the planning of his estate. Thus, this Regulation allows people to choose their inheritance law and to designate their national law to govern the whole of their estate. This choice of law is called "professio juris".  For greater legal certainty it is strongly recommended that you make this choice of law in writing in the form of a will. Nevertheless, the designated law will apply only on condition that it is not contrary to international public order. 

The International Department of ETASSE et Associés will assist you in drafting your wills in an international context and in this choice of inheritance law. Our team will give you advice for considering the possibilities offered by this Succession Regulation but also its limitations. Indeed, although the Succession Regulation is "universal" in character (applicable regardless of the nationality of the persons concerned, even if they are not nationals of a connected State), its opposability in regard to third countries may raise some difficulties. Moreover, the determination of "habitual residence at time of death" can sometimes be tricky.

Warning: this Succession Regulation contains no provisions on taxation. It will therefore always be necessary to refer to the provisions of the Code Générale des Impôts (the French General Tax Code), to the tax treaties signed between France and many States, and possibly the national tax systems of each State. Here again, seeking advice from the International Department of ETASSE et Associés will prove to be extremely usefu