France among other countries has what is termed as forced heirship laws.  This means that rather than being able to leave your worldly assets to whomever you please upon your death it is distributed as per their law regardless of your wishes.

France has recently amended its succession laws from the 1 November 2021 to include a variety of resident statuses who will now also be subject to this law where their estate assets are located in France.  Prior to passing the amendment individuals could elect the jurisdiction that would apply to their estate, but this is no longer the case.  This has caused some upset globally in particular as many are purporting that this conflicts with EU succession law.  It may cause particular issues for British individuals who have property in France as under UK law they can leave their assets to whomever they please, but the amendment to French law will mean that it will guarantee a portion to the children.

Forced heirship laws are one of the more prominent reasons that people elect to set up offshore company structures and establish Trusts.  Rather than the assets belonging to an individual and therefore being automatically subject to these laws upon that persons death they belong to the company or trust in the jurisdiction of incorporation.  Consequently regardless of an individual death a company and/or trust can continue to operate for the benefit of its named beneficiaries.  Furthermore if assets are to be distributed upon death then there are almost limitless possibilities on how the individual would like these to be disposed of regardless of any family claim that would hold weight in most jurisdictions when dealing with lawyers and a will.

If you would like to hear more about the establishment of offshore companies and trusts and how this can project your assets and grant you freedom to distribute these as you choose fit then please do not hesitate to contact us.