There has been a lot of buzz about the proposed European Inheritance Certificate.  This is a recent regulation adopted by Europe to enable a person to choose the law under which any property they own is dealt with upon their death.

Adopted in June 2012, the regulation will not now be applied until the 17th August 2015.

What does it mean?  At the moment, it is the law of the country the property is situated in that automatically regulates how that property is dealt with upon the death of the owner(s), regardless of where the owner is normally resident.  For example, if you live in the UK, but have a holiday home in the Dordogne, then if you got run over by the proverbial bus tomorrow, your French property would be subject to French law and coud not be covered by your English will.

It’s important to remember that English and French inheritance law are very different.

Once this new regulation is active, it will allow people to choose (according to ceratin legal conditions) whether their property is dealt with by the law of the country in which it stands, or the law of the country of which they are a citizen.


Let me give you an example:

Mr Christenssen is Swedish and decides to buy a house in Nice and move to France on a permanent basis.  In 2011, he wrote a will in Sweden, stating  that he wished his house in Nice to be subject to Swedish nheritance law.

If Mr Christenssen dies after the 17th August 2015, then France will recognise Swedish law.

If Mr Christenssen dies before the 17th August 2015, then his wish will not be recognised by French law, and the house will be dealt with under French law (remembering that Swedish inheritance law can be applied to the contents of the property).


This should allow estates to be dealt with more quickly, and ensure that every European citizen can fulfill their role as an heir,  without further complications, in any Eorupean member state.

More information concerning this to follow…..

Rachel Thomas-Bonnet, Gibalaux le Haut, 11800 Laure Minervois FRANCE

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