Date updated: Wednesday 3rd April 2024

Senior Associate Charlotte Macdonald explains the factors involved in donating a property in France to an English charity for French Entrée.

Charlotte, who practices in Stone King’s International and Cross-border Team, looked at a situation which may be relevant to the thousands of British owners of French properties. 

Charlotte said an important consideration are French forced heirship rules, which mean, in some situations, a proportion of an individual’s assets must be left to their children.

“If you have no children and are not married, then broadly speaking, you can leave your French assets as you wish” Charlotte explained. 

“For those people with children, they may be able to elect British law in their Will to avoid the French forced heirship rules (although the effectiveness of this has been reduced in recent years in some circumstances).”

Another important consideration is inheritance tax law, with implications for a tax liability in both France and England, depending on where the recipient charity is registered.

“In the UK there is 100% charitable relief available on inheritances passing to British charities. This means that if you leave your French home to an English charity there will be no UK inheritance tax for your estate to pay on your French property,” added Charlotte.

There may however then be French tax payable, which may not be the case if the property was left to a French charity. 

The article emphasises the importance of seeking specialist legal advice, highlighting that there is no ‘one size fits all approach’ for the complex and varied individual circumstances of cross-border legacy planning.

Read Charlotte’s full article from French Entree here.

Stone King operates nationally with offices in Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London and Manchester. It specialises in the sectors of Business & Social Enterprise, Charity, Education, Faith and Private Client.