Which law applies?
Can I choose the law applicable to my succession?

Last update: 10/5/2012

The law applicable to personal property in the succession is the law of the country where the deceased had, at the time of his/her death, his/her habitual residence. On the other hand, for real estate, the applicable law is that of the country where said property is located. French law does not authorise any derogations from this rule, so that it is not possible to choose the law applying to a succession.

Detailed information

Which criteria are used to determine the applicable law?

For personal property, the applicable law is that of the deceased’s last domicile. Therefore, French law applies if the deceased had his/her habitual residence in France.
For real estate, the law of the country where the property is located applies. French law will therefore apply if the deceased had real estate in France.

Which principles govern the choice of applicable law?

French law does not provide for a choice as regards the law applicable to successions.

What are the main international agreements in force?

Multilateral agreements:

Convention of The Hague on the conflicts of law relating to the form of testamentary dispositions of 5 October 1961

Basle convention of on the establishment of a scheme of registration of wills of 16 May 1972

Washington Convention providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will of 26 October 1973