Invest in Paris

Invest: News on International Inheritance Laws

Since 1 August 2015, new rules exist concerning the inheritance of EU residents. This changes the act of giving for those whose wealth lies in property located within the European Union.


The international rules on inheritance have simplified. Since 17 August 2015, for every inheritance comprised of real estate located in different Member States the applicable law will be the country of residence of the deceased. In sum, only one body of law will govern inheritance: that applicable in the habitual country of residence of the deceased.

Two examples by way of explanation:

  • the inheritance of a French person who owns an apartment in Paris and has retired to his villa in Portugal will be governed by Portuguese law
  • the inheritance of an active German living in his Parisian apartment who owns a family house in Bavaria will be governed by French law

Important note: this rule will be consistently applied except where the person has taken the care to specify in their will in advance, the law of the country that they choose to apply to their inheritance. The choice can be the country of their nationality even if they do not live there. Before making a selection, it is necessary to compare and weigh up the differing laws of the countries and to select that which most favours their beneficiaries.

Beware: this rule concerns the 25 EU Member States. The UK, Ireland, and Denmark are not affected.


*In Numbers

– 12.3 million EU citizens live in an EU country that is not their nation of origin

– 16 million bi-national couples live in the heart of the EU