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globe of planet earth representing the steps to take after the death of a loved one in France when you are an expatriate

French people living abroad faced with the death of a loved one in France

French people living abroad face particular challenges when dealing with the death of a loved one in France. Geographical distance and cultural differences can make administrative procedures and formalities complex to manage. When a death occurs in France, it is essential for French people living abroad to be informed of the steps to follow and the resources available to support them at this difficult time.
  • Some large networks even have a call center staffed by advisors - you'll need to make an appointment, prepare all supporting documents in advance, and get ready for an interview lasting from 90 minutes to 2 hours. On the day of the appointment, an advisor will call you to retrieve your information and prepare "personalized" letters. However, this type of service has its limitations for French nationals living abroad, mainly linked to your country of residence (time difference, call charges). You'll need a telephone number in France, and support is only available for three months. As for reminders, you'll have to take care of them yourself, without the help of this type of service.
  • Many notaries will be able to provide information on how to get started. They are a very good source of help, but they don't have all the visibility, resources or time to be able to help the family over time and with all the formalities. Depending on the life course of our parents (e.g.: a notary will not carry out a transfer or subscription cancellation request). Nor will he or she assist you with motor vehicle-related formalities.
  • There are generalist provider sites who will offer you flowers, marble work, funeral home search solutions and administrative procedures, but whose specialty is not this; some outsource this service.
  • Finally, you'll find a category of specialists whose core business is administrative formalities. More information is available at the bottom of this article.
  • In short, it's not easy and can become a real headache. Especially since, as people living abroad, we're not all up to date on current family affairs in France. But with the help of a specialist, you can get organized very quickly from a distance.  

     

    What approaches are we talking about?

    As mentioned above, these are compulsory formalities to be carried out by the family.

    Their purpose is to officially notify public, social, private and associative organizations of a person's death. While some of these organizations are easy enough to find, others may not spring to mind. So how do you make sure you haven't forgotten any of them?

    In general, these steps should be taken with :

    • Public administrations - Non-exhaustive list: taxes, department, court, guardianship judge, vehicle registration, etc. ;
    • social organizations - Non-exhaustive list: pension funds, departmental council, CAF, etc. ;
    • private organizations - Non-exhaustive list: homeowner or tenant, banking and financial services, EDF, employer, etc.
    • Associations - some people have made donations or benefited from associative services.

    Formalities after death

    Are there any deadlines for death formalities?

    Yes.

    All this must be done according to a precise schedule set by the administration and the organizations: from 48 hours after the death and over a period of up to 24 months.

    Away from France, these delays become unmanageable.

    The imperatives of schedule make it almost impossible to meet from abroad.

    The complexity of the French administration is not always easy to grasp, especially as for some expatriates, it's all a mystery.

    But how do you know what these deadlines are?

    What mail should I send?

    When should I send them?

    What supporting documents do I need to enclose?

    The most common answer is "I don't know".

     

    Are there any risks if we don't take these steps properly?

    Yes.

     

    Emotion and mourning are not without risk.

    No one is safe from making an omission or an error when making these declarations, because you don't really know what to do.

    In this way, the formalities will enable the deceased's situation to be properly updated with these bodies, so that they can stop deductions, suspend aid that the deceased was receiving, or offer benefits to the family, etc.

    This is why, if these formalities are not carried out correctly and in their entirety, the family is exposed to certain risks.

    These can :

    • Impact on the estate
    • Result in financial penalties if certain declarations are not made or are incomplete or even out of time
    • Causing the family to lose out on social or financial assistance to which they would become eligible as a result of the change in their situation.

    The most important point to consider is that each deceased person has had a different life course. (family, professional, type of insurance, bank loans, health, etc.).

    It is therefore important to take all the necessary steps in relation to the deceased's past and the beneficiary's current situation. (spouse, child, parent).  

     

    Is my family eligible for financial aid or social benefits?Social security death benefit

    Depending on the situation, yes.

    Particularly if the surviving spouse is dependent or ill (Alzheimer's, for example), or if he/she has a disability eligible for assistance in the event of the spouse's death. A parent who was financially dependent on his/her spouse or children may be eligible for assistance. A specialist will be able to help you dto detect and identify additional aid. They are many and varied.

    What solutions are available for French nationals living abroad?

    To us, online platform Postumo is the specialist administrative procedures in France.

    The automation of the service offers a unique opportunity to carry out procedures and formalities remotely from abroad.

    Postumo will ensure that no organization is missing, and will help you detect whether the spouse's situation is eligible for social and/or financial aid, depending on the new family situation.

    Postumo becomes an interesting alternative, because it also allows you to ask the right questions and leave no stone unturned in the case of particular situations you haven't thought of.

    The site is accessible on www.postumo.fr

     

    In short, for French nationals living abroad, the formalities are complex and time-consuming to prepare, and can become interminable if they are not carried out properly at the outset.

    Take the time to find the right service provider for you.

    Author - Franck co-founder of Postumo

     

          Femme de dos qui regarde la mer (Woman with her back to the sea): French people abroad face the death of a loved one in France  

     

    Death of a relative in France while living abroad: frequently asked questions

    What steps must French expatriates take in the event of the death of a relative in France?

    When a loved one dies in France, French expatriates have to deal with a number of administrative formalities. These include organizing the funeral, informing the relevant organizations, and then managing specific formalities specific to each life course.

    How long does it take to file a death declaration and obtain a medical certificate of death?

    The declaration of death must be made within 24 hours of the death (excluding Sundays and public holidays). It is also necessary to obtain a medical certificate of death, which can be obtained from the hospital, nursing home or attending physician.

    How do I choose a funeral home and obtain a quote?

    We recommend that you choose your funeral director by consulting the list posted at the town hall, in health establishments, and in mortuary and funeral parlors. A free written estimate is mandatory and must be provided by the chosen organization.

    What steps must be taken within 6 days of the death?

    Within 6 days (excluding Sundays and public holidays), the funeral arrangements must be made in accordance with the deceased's wishes (cremation, burial), and a cemetery plot purchased if necessary. It is also possible to claim up to €5,000 from the bank managing the deceased's accounts on presentation of the paid invoice.

    Lire  What papers should I keep after my parents have died? Practical guide

    Which organizations must be notified within 10 days of death?

    Within 10 days of the death, it is important to notify paying bodies such as the employer (if the deceased was an employee or civil servant), Pôle Emploi (in the event of unemployment), pension funds (in the event of retirement), health insurance (if the deceased received a disability pension), Caf (in the event of housing benefit or RSA), and the département (if the deceased received social assistance).

    What other steps do I need to take after notifying the paying agencies?

    Once you've informed the paying agencies, it's important to contact the bank (to block accounts), the provident fund (death insurance), the notary (for inheritance and other formalities), the tax office (for inheritance and income tax returns), the pension fund (for reversionary claims) and the landlord or property manager (to terminate the lease or pay condominium fees). Postumo is with you every step of the way, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.    


    Thank you for joining us on this article. Our team has worked hard to share our knowledge and give you a broader view of this phase of the administrative procedures following the death of a loved one in France.

    Living abroad is a wonderful experience, but it's also a difficult one, due to the distance from friends and family in France. This difficulty is particularly acute when faced with the death of a parent.

    Suddenly, you have to make arrangements to return to France (when possible, as the health crisis we've just experienced has amplified this difficulty).

    As a Frenchman living abroad for almost 20 years and co-founder of Postumo, I've had to deal, as many of us have, with the loss of a loved one in France.

    Beyond the painful period of the funeral, our family discovered a little-known stage, that of the administrative formalities.  

     

    Death of a loved one in France: advice for expatriates

    Generally speaking, these formalities are "additional" to those that the notary will carry out for the succession. In fact, the notary will only arrive at a later stage, to manage the estate if necessary. It's a complex process, especially when you don't know what to do or when to do it. In fact, formalities don't wait, and can sometimes drag on: up to two years in our case.

    Following the loss of two parents with different life situations, we asked around on online information sites, and even at the notary's office... and well, we got some of the steps wrong.

    A closer look at the formalities carried out revealed that a number of oversights had resulted in financial losses due to incomplete or incorrectly completed files.

    Historically, the onerous task of carrying out these formalities has fallen to an heir (parent, sister, brother, cousin, etc.), ideally based in France. In other words, it can become an emotional burden for the family, and tiring for the person who has to do it alone.

    For French people living abroad, there may be a real sense of frustration at not being able to help a bereaved relative with these formalities, because of our family and/or professional obligations.

    It's difficult for us to contact the notary remotely, or even to call a telephone service or stay on site to help him.  

     

    Where can I find information about these administrative formalities from abroad?

    There are several avenues

    Before going into detail, we'd like to draw your attention to a key concept when you're faced with a death and have the status of heir.

    Most sites and blogs don't address the issue: "Do you accept or renounce the estate? " This simple question may seem trivial, but the repercussions are far-reaching and can have a catastrophic impact on what happens next.

    There's more information on this subject on Public Service : https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F1199 Administrative procedures after death

     

    You can already find out about this on the Internet and seek information from the Ministry or on websites/blogs:

    • From blogs on the internet Even old ones can provide some information, so check that they are up to date with French legislation. You should also be cautious about online sites that are published by well-intentioned people, but give disparate and/or incomplete information, as the information is generic and not in phase with the particularity of your situation and that of the deceased.
    • Any Ministry of the Interior website (https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F16507) offers the beginnings of a solution - however, it remains incomplete, since it only takes into account public administrations and does not cover all social bodies or private organizations. Finally, the Ministry's website does not offer any standard letters to write, nor any official documents (CERFA forms) that must be attached to administrative correspondence.
    • Many funeral directors in France (Many of them will sell you a catalog (in paper format) listing the formalities involved. This is undoubtedly a useful initiative, as the catalog lists some of the formalities, but the list will be incomplete, as your relative's life course is not the same as your neighbor's: the organizations to be notified will therefore be different.
      • Some large networks even have a call center staffed by advisors - you'll need to make an appointment, prepare all supporting documents in advance, and get ready for an interview lasting from 90 minutes to 2 hours. On the day of the appointment, an advisor will call you to retrieve your information and prepare "personalized" letters. However, this type of service has its limitations for French nationals living abroad, mainly linked to your country of residence (time difference, call charges). You'll need a telephone number in France, and support is only available for three months. As for reminders, you'll have to take care of them yourself, without the help of this type of service.
    • Many notaries will be able to provide information on how to get started. They are a very good source of help, but they don't have all the visibility, resources or time to be able to help the family over time and with all the formalities. Depending on the life course of our parents (e.g.: a notary will not carry out a transfer or subscription cancellation request). Nor will he or she assist you with motor vehicle-related formalities.
    • There are generalist provider sites who will offer you flowers, marble work, funeral home search solutions and administrative procedures, but whose specialty is not this; some outsource this service.
    • Finally, you'll find a category of specialists whose core business is administrative formalities. More information is available at the bottom of this article.
    Lire  How long does it take to receive life insurance after a death? Duration, procedures and explanations on life insurance

    In short, it's not easy and can become a real headache. Especially since, as people living abroad, we're not all up to date on current family affairs in France. But with the help of a specialist, you can get organized very quickly from a distance.  

     

    What approaches are we talking about?

    As mentioned above, these are compulsory formalities to be carried out by the family.

    Their purpose is to officially notify public, social, private and associative organizations of a person's death. While some of these organizations are easy enough to find, others may not spring to mind. So how do you make sure you haven't forgotten any of them?

    In general, these steps should be taken with :

    • Public administrations - Non-exhaustive list: taxes, department, court, guardianship judge, vehicle registration, etc. ;
    • social organizations - Non-exhaustive list: pension funds, departmental council, CAF, etc. ;
    • private organizations - Non-exhaustive list: homeowner or tenant, banking and financial services, EDF, employer, etc.
    • Associations - some people have made donations or benefited from associative services.

    Formalities after death

    Are there any deadlines for death formalities?

    Yes.

    All this must be done according to a precise schedule set by the administration and the organizations: from 48 hours after the death and over a period of up to 24 months.

    Away from France, these delays become unmanageable.

    The imperatives of schedule make it almost impossible to meet from abroad.

    The complexity of the French administration is not always easy to grasp, especially as for some expatriates, it's all a mystery.

    But how do you know what these deadlines are?

    What mail should I send?

    When should I send them?

    What supporting documents do I need to enclose?

    The most common answer is "I don't know".

     

    Are there any risks if we don't take these steps properly?

    Yes.

     

    Emotion and mourning are not without risk.

    No one is safe from making an omission or an error when making these declarations, because you don't really know what to do.

    In this way, the formalities will enable the deceased's situation to be properly updated with these bodies, so that they can stop deductions, suspend aid that the deceased was receiving, or offer benefits to the family, etc.

    This is why, if these formalities are not carried out correctly and in their entirety, the family is exposed to certain risks.

    These can :

    • Impact on the estate
    • Result in financial penalties if certain declarations are not made or are incomplete or even out of time
    • Causing the family to lose out on social or financial assistance to which they would become eligible as a result of the change in their situation.

    The most important point to consider is that each deceased person has had a different life course. (family, professional, type of insurance, bank loans, health, etc.).

    It is therefore important to take all the necessary steps in relation to the deceased's past and the beneficiary's current situation. (spouse, child, parent).  

     

    Is my family eligible for financial aid or social benefits?Social security death benefit

    Depending on the situation, yes.

    Particularly if the surviving spouse is dependent or ill (Alzheimer's, for example), or if he/she has a disability eligible for assistance in the event of the spouse's death. A parent who was financially dependent on his/her spouse or children may be eligible for assistance. A specialist will be able to help you dto detect and identify additional aid. They are many and varied.

    What solutions are available for French nationals living abroad?

    To us, online platform Postumo is the specialist administrative procedures in France.

    The automation of the service offers a unique opportunity to carry out procedures and formalities remotely from abroad.

    Postumo will ensure that no organization is missing, and will help you detect whether the spouse's situation is eligible for social and/or financial aid, depending on the new family situation.

    Postumo becomes an interesting alternative, because it also allows you to ask the right questions and leave no stone unturned in the case of particular situations you haven't thought of.

    The site is accessible on www.postumo.fr

     

    In short, for French nationals living abroad, the formalities are complex and time-consuming to prepare, and can become interminable if they are not carried out properly at the outset.

    Take the time to find the right service provider for you.

    Author - Franck co-founder of Postumo

     

          Femme de dos qui regarde la mer (Woman with her back to the sea): French people abroad face the death of a loved one in France  

     

    Death of a relative in France while living abroad: frequently asked questions

    What steps must French expatriates take in the event of the death of a relative in France?

    When a loved one dies in France, French expatriates have to deal with a number of administrative formalities. These include organizing the funeral, informing the relevant organizations, and then managing specific formalities specific to each life course.

    How long does it take to file a death declaration and obtain a medical certificate of death?

    The declaration of death must be made within 24 hours of the death (excluding Sundays and public holidays). It is also necessary to obtain a medical certificate of death, which can be obtained from the hospital, nursing home or attending physician.

    How do I choose a funeral home and obtain a quote?

    We recommend that you choose your funeral director by consulting the list posted at the town hall, in health establishments, and in mortuary and funeral parlors. A free written estimate is mandatory and must be provided by the chosen organization.

    What steps must be taken within 6 days of the death?

    Within 6 days (excluding Sundays and public holidays), the funeral arrangements must be made in accordance with the deceased's wishes (cremation, burial), and a cemetery plot purchased if necessary. It is also possible to claim up to €5,000 from the bank managing the deceased's accounts on presentation of the paid invoice.

    Which organizations must be notified within 10 days of death?

    Within 10 days of the death, it is important to notify paying bodies such as the employer (if the deceased was an employee or civil servant), Pôle Emploi (in the event of unemployment), pension funds (in the event of retirement), health insurance (if the deceased received a disability pension), Caf (in the event of housing benefit or RSA), and the département (if the deceased received social assistance).

    What other steps do I need to take after notifying the paying agencies?

    Once you've informed the paying agencies, it's important to contact the bank (to block accounts), the provident fund (death insurance), the notary (for inheritance and other formalities), the tax office (for inheritance and income tax returns), the pension fund (for reversionary claims) and the landlord or property manager (to terminate the lease or pay condominium fees). Postumo is with you every step of the way, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.    

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