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Succession of deceased father to living mother: what to do?

Succession of deceased father to living mother: steps and advice

Postumo can help you understand the succession of a deceased father to a living mother, from the legal distribution of assets to the management of complex situations.

Understanding inheritance in the case of a deceased father and a living mother

The loss of a loved one, especially a parent, is a painful ordeal. Sadness is often compounded by a series of administrative and legal formalities.

When the death involves the father, and the mother is still alive, crucial questions arise:

  • When a father dies, leaving behind a wife and children, how does the succession work?
  • How are assets divided between the surviving mother and her descendants?
  • What are everyone's rights?
  • What is the succession procedure?
  • How can we ensure that the rights of each family member are respected and that they get what is legally due to them?

With these questions in mind, it's vital to have a reliable source of guidance in the event of succession after a father's death. It is with this in mind that we have prepared this article. Based on French inheritance law, we will guide you step-by-step through the process, focusing on the key stages, rights and practical advice to best navigate this stage and gain a better understanding of the inheritance process in France in the event of the death of father and mother still living.

The loss of a loved one, especially a parent, is a painful ordeal. Sadness is often compounded by a series of administrative and legal formalities.

When the death involves the father, and the mother is still alive, crucial questions arise:

  • When a father dies, leaving behind a wife and children, how does the succession work?
  • How are assets divided between the surviving mother and her descendants?
  • What are everyone's rights?
  • What is the succession procedure?
  • How can we ensure that the rights of each family member are respected and that they get what is legally due to them?

With these questions in mind, it's vital to have a reliable source of guidance in the event of succession after a father's death. It is with this in mind that we have prepared this article. Based on French inheritance law, we'll guide you step-by-step through the process, focusing on the key stages, rights and practical advice to best navigate this stage and gain a better understanding of the inheritance process in France in the event of the death of a living father and mother.

mother, son and grandson hold hands after grandfather's death

Succession of deceased father to living mother: legal framework

The basic principles of inheritance law in France (succession after the death of the father)

French law has established a strict framework for the transmission of assets after death. There are two main elements to consider: the hereditary reserve and the available share.

Hereditary reserve Inheritance: This is the portion of property and rights that the deceased cannot dispose of freely by will, as it is reserved by law for certain heirs, known as "reserved heirs", generally descendants and the surviving spouse.

The available share This is the portion of the estate that the deceased is free to dispose of as he or she wishes, whether by will or gift.

This means that a father, despite his best intentions, cannot bequeath his entire estate to a charity, for example, without taking into account the legal share due to his direct heirs.

What is the legal framework for succession after a father's death?
What is the legal framework for succession after a father's death?

The role of the will

A will is a legal tool that enables a person to determine how he or she wishes his or her assets to be distributed after death. Although there are restrictions on the use of the reserved portion of an estate, wills offer a certain degree of flexibility.

The importance of a will : In the context of a blended family, or in the presence of family tensions, a will can help avoid posthumous conflicts. It is therefore essential to check for the existence of a will after death, to ascertain the precise wishes of the deceased.

Modification of standard succession If the deceased has made a will, he or she can give preference to an heir by deciding to allocate the available portion to him or her. This can modify the "standard" distribution of assets established by law.

Inheritance tax scale and order of heirs

The question of inheritance tax after a father's death is central to the post-death process, as it determines the amount that heirs will have to pay to the State on inherited assets. This scale varies according to the relationship to the deceased. In addition, inheritance takes place according to a precise order of heirs, defined by law.

Inheritance tax scale

Inheritance tax is based on the amount inherited and the relationship to the deceased. Here is an overview of the scale applicable in France:

  • Between spouses and PACS partners Total exemption from inheritance tax. Please note that to be entitled to inheritance rights, the PACS partner must have been named in a will.
  • Direct line (parents/children) :
    • Up to €100,000: allowance .
    • From €8,072 to €1,805,677: Rates from 5% to 40%.
    • Above €1,805,678 : Rate of 45%
  • Brothers and sisters :
    • Up to €15,932 : Allowance .
    • Sum not exceeding €24,430 rate of 35 %  
    • Above €24,430 rate of 45%.
  • Nephews and nieces 55% rate
  • Other heirs (unrelated) 60% rate

Order of heirs

In the absence of a spouse, French law defines an order of priority:

  1. Children and their descendants : They inherit in equal shares.
  2. Parents and siblings If one of the parents is deceased, half of his or her share goes to the brothers and sisters.
  3. Ascendants other than parents (grandparents, great-grandparents).
  4. Collateral relatives other than brothers and sisters (uncles, aunts, cousins)

It should be noted that the surviving spouse has specific rights that may take precedence over certain orders of heirs, depending on testamentary provisions or the matrimonial regime.

However, there are complementary solutions other than a will, such as a gift to the last surviving person, dismemberment of ownership (bare ownership and usufruct) or a precipitating clause, which can reduce the cost of inheritance and protect your loved ones. We strongly advise you to consult a notary, a wealth management advisor or a lawyer specialized in inheritance law, for precise information tailored to each individual situation.

Note : These rates and amounts may be regularly updated by the legislator, so we recommend that you refer to official sources for the latest figures.

What is the living mother's share (inheritance from deceased father, living mother-in-law)?

In the absence of provisions in the area: the law applies

French law protects the surviving spouse, and in the event of the death of one of the spouses, the other inherits, under certain conditions, either the total usufruct of the property, or the ownership of a fraction.

If there are joint children : The mother can choose between ownership of a quarter of the assets or usufruct of the entire estate.

If there are children from another union: the mother receives one-quarter of the property.

It is essential to note that a deceased parent's share of the inheritance is determined by the number of children and the marriage.

If a will changes this distribution

If the deceased left a will, the surviving spouse (the mother in this example) could receive a different share from what the law stipulates for legal devolution. However, it's important to remember that testamentary dispositions cannot deprive heirs reservataires (such as children) of their inheritance reserve.

Children, the first reserved heirs

Default distribution

Children are the direct heirs of a deceased person. The distribution is therefore made in equal shares between them. If one of the children is deceased, his or her own children (the deceased's grandchildren) come in representation and share in his or her share.

How to apply for your share

If you're wondering whether you're entitled to your father's inheritance, the answer is yes. As soon as you are notified of your father's death, you have the right to claim your share of the inheritance. It is advisable to contact a notary to facilitate the post-death process and ensure that the rights of each heir are respected.

In the presence of a spouse and children from a previous union

In this situation, if no will is drawn up and there is no last will and testament, the surviving mother (or mother-in-law) inherits one-quarter of the deceased's assets in full ownership, or all of the assets in usufruct, while the children inherit the remainder.

If the surviving spouse does not make his or her choice known in writing within the 3 monthsthe usufruct of the entire estate is awarded to him.

The importance of dialogue

To avoid disputes and tensions, it is advisable to establish a dialogue between all family members, perhaps even before death, to ensure that the deceased's last wishes are clear and understood by all.

How do I contest an inheritance?

An estate may be contested due to ambiguities in the will, suspicion of undue influence or violation of the reserved portion of the estate. It's crucial to seek the advice of a legal expert to navigate this tricky situation.

What are the inheritance taxes in the event of the death of the father's living mother?
What are the inheritance taxes in the event of the death of the father's living mother?

Inheritance: can I claim my deceased father's share?

Navigating the intricacies of inheritance law can sometimes seem complex, especially when it comes to understanding your own rights as an heir. If your father has passed away and you're wondering whether you can claim his share of a previous or current succession, here are some key points to consider.

Understanding estate representation

When a person dies before being able to receive his or her inheritance (for example, if a grandfather leaves after his son), that person's descendants can take his or her place in the succession. This is known as "representation".

  • If your father was due to inherit from a family member (for example, his own father or mother) but died before them, you (and any siblings) may be called upon to inherit in his place, dividing the share that would have gone to him.

The reserved portion

The French Civil Code lays down rules to protect direct descendants. Thus, even if a person has expressed other wishes in a will, a minimum share (known as the "hereditary reserve") is guaranteed to children.

  • If you are your father's only child, you are entitled to at least half of his property. If you have brothers or sisters, this reserve amounts to two-thirds, to be divided between you. So it's important to make sure these rules are respected.

Possible blockages

There may be situations where blockages or disputes arise, including :

  • If your father remarried and there was no marriage contract specifying the division of property, the situation can become more complex.
  • If your father had debts or other financial obligations, they could have an impact on the inheritance.

Asserting your rights

If you believe you have a claim on your father's inheritance, it's vital to consult a notary or a lawyer specializing in inheritance law. They will be able to guide and advise you on the best way to proceed.

In conclusion, if your father dies before receiving his inheritance, you, as his direct descendant, can potentially claim his share. However, the situation may vary according to circumstances and family configurations. It is therefore always advisable to seek professional advice to clarify your rights and obligations.

Inheritance: can I claim my deceased father's share?

Inheritance: other property and assets

Usufruct and bare ownership: understanding the distinction

Usufruct enables an individual to benefit from (enjoy) an asset without owning it. For example, you can live in a house or receive income from an investment without owning it. Bare ownership is possession of the asset without the benefits directly associated with its use. In the context of an estate, it is common for the surviving spouse to receive the usufruct of the property, while the children obtain bare ownership.

Prior gifts and inheritance

Donations made before death can influence the estate. In France, donations are often "reportable", meaning that they are taken into account when calculating inheritance shares to ensure fair distribution among heirs. 

When several children are involved, it is essential to find out how a donation is to be made. There are two ways of making a donation, and depending on the choice made, the consequences are different and may lead to future conflicts. 

A simple donation requires the property to be revalued, whereas a shared donation allows the same amount to be passed on to each child without having to revalue the property. An example: two children receive a sum of 100,000 euros. The first spends this sum at the casino, while the second, having invested in an investment, has a sum of €250,000 at the date of inheritance. In the case of a simple gift, the second child's sum will be included in the estate. This situation will therefore be to his disadvantage. 

Inheritance tax: a tax to consider

After death, heirs must pay inheritance tax based on the value of the inherited assets and their relationship to the deceased. There are certain allowances and exemptions, notably for the surviving spouse.

Optimizing succession planning

One of the keys to ensuring a smooth transition of assets after death is careful planning. This can include drafting a will, setting up a gift scheme, or exploring other legal tools such as life insurance. To help you make the right choices, notaries, wealth management advisors and lawyers are on hand to answer your questions and guide you towards the right wealth strategy. 

Anticipating and taking steps to reduce the cost of an inheritance also means acting to protect the surviving spouse or child. 

How can Postumo support families in the succession process?

In times of bereavement, dealing with inheritance issues can be an insurmountable mountain, all the more so when the subject is fraught with legal ambiguities. Postumo does not replace the notary in charge of the estate, but complements his work.

Designed to be the pillar of support for families, Postumo offers services dedicated to simplifying and managing all aspects of the death process.. Families are guided every step of the way, from the initial formalities to the complete management of the various contacts and organizations involved.

Postumo makes a point of providing accurate, up-to-date information, eliminating uncertainty and ensuring that the duties and rights of each heir are respected.   

Finally, aware of the difficulties encountered by families in obtaining essential information, documents and contacts, Postumo makes it possible to go even further in providing support, and provides a response to digitalization, the digitization of documents, distance due to geographical mobility, and the evolution of families (blended, single-parent, etc.).

In the event of your death, your loved ones can now inherit your personal information. To find out more, click here: How to inherit my spouse's personal information .

faq questions & answers

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about inheritance

How is the estate distributed if the deceased did not draw up a will?

In the absence of a will, the law determines the distribution of assets. It generally favors direct descendants and the surviving spouse.

What is a reserved heir?

This is an heir who, under French law, is entitled to a minimum share of the inheritance (the "reserve"). Children, for example, are reserved heirs.

Is it possible to renounce an inheritance?

Yes, an heir can decide to renounce his or her share. This is an important decision, which generally requires the assistance of a notary.

If you accept the estate outright, you receive your share of the inheritance and you must also pay the deceased's debts to the extent of your rights in the estate.

However, if you discover a substantial debt, you can withdraw your acceptance and renounce the succession. To do this, you must apply to the court within 5 months of becoming aware of the debt, in order to be fully or partially discharged. 

The following 2 conditions are decisive for exercising this right:

  1. You had legitimate reasons to be unaware of the existence of this debt at the time you accepted the succession.
  2. Paying this debt could seriously damage your assets.

Finally, if you renounce the succession, you are considered never to have been an heir. You will not be entitled to any property, and you will not have to pay the deceased's debts.

However, if you are a ascendant or descendant of the deceased, you may be asked to contribute to the funeral costs according to your means.

How is the amount of inheritance tax calculated?

Duties are calculated according to the value of the inherited assets. Several factors, such as the relationship to the deceased and the total value of the estate, can influence the final amount.

Who inherits first when the father dies and the mother is still alive?

Under French inheritance law, the matrimonial property regime is decisive. If the couple were married under the community property regime, the surviving mother retains half of the community property, with the other half forming part of the estate. She can then choose to receive the entire estate in usufruct, or a quarter in full ownership, with the remainder going to the children.

However, it can also be detrimental to the children, as the entire estate will be passed on to them on the second death, thus losing the tax allowances they would have had on the first death, resulting in higher inheritance costs in the end. 

If the deceased father had children from a previous union, how is the estate divided?

If the deceased had children from a previous union, they have the same rights as children from the union with the surviving mother. All children, regardless of their parentage, share in the estate, taking into account the surviving mother's share.

How is my deceased father's share calculated if there is no will?

In the absence of a will, the distribution of the deceased's assets is governed by French law. If the father dies leaving his wife and children, the mother, if married under the community property regime, retains half of the assets. The other half becomes part of the estate and is divided among the children. This means that each child has the right to claim his or her share of the father's inheritance.

Can the surviving mother refuse the inheritance?

Yes, like any heir, the surviving mother has the right to refuse the succession, particularly if she feels that the deceased's debts are too great. In the event of renunciation, she will not be required to pay the estate's debts and will not inherit any property.

What happens to the family home if the father dies and the mother is still alive?

If the home was part of the joint estate, and there is no will specifying otherwise, the surviving mother has the right to remain in the home. She can benefit from the usufruct of the family home, which means she can occupy it or receive income from it (such as rent) until her own death.

If the deceased father had drawn up a will, how does this affect the rights of the surviving mother and children?

A will can change the legal distribution of the estate. However, it is important to note that the deceased cannot deprive his children of their inheritance reserve. The surviving mother and children must therefore receive at least the share guaranteed to them by law, even in the presence of a will.

Can I claim my deceased father's share if my mother is still alive?

Yes, in the absence of a will or special provisions, French law stipulates that children are entitled to the share normally devolving to them. In an estate where the father is deceased and the mother is still alive, the children can claim their share of their father's property. The surviving mother, however, retains her half of the estate if she was married under the community property regime.

The bare owner and the usufructuary will sell their respective rights. Each of the sellers will receive a share of the price.

Please note: in this case, you will be taxed again on the transfer of this sum at the time of the next inheritance. New inheritance taxes will have to be paid on the capital transferred to the usufructuary.

Can I claim my deceased father's entire share if I have siblings?

No, your father's share will be divided equally between all his direct descendants, i.e. his children. If you have siblings, you must share your father's inheritance equally with them, unless your will provides otherwise.

postumo succession father deceased mother alive 3 min

 

Continue reading

  1. Direct line inheritance tax scale
  2. How do I calculate inheritance tax?
  3. Order of heirs
  4. Inheritance rules: deceased with children

Conclusion

Succession in the event of a father's death with a living mother is both an emotional and complex subject. A good understanding of the applicable laws, combined with proper planning, will ensure a smooth transition of assets while reducing potential tensions between heirs. In this context, the support of a legal professional is often invaluable. We recommend that you meet with a number of experts to obtain a more precise opinion based on your personal and family situation.

pauline
pauline
Articles: 8

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