Paris Property Insider

PARLER PARIS: PARIS PROPERTY INSIDER

Think You Can Do What You Want With Your French Property? Think Again


Enhanced web-edition online at:
/parlerparis/property


August 22, 2002


*** WHY PLANNING AHEAD CAN SAVE HEADACHES IN THE FUTURE


Buying property on foreign soil requires a little more
forethought than when you buy in your home country…and
France is no different. In fact, in some cases, it can be
even more problematic. The combination of France’s
inheritance law and inheritance taxes makes it imperative
that you consider these issues before actually buying
property here.


Take this couple, for example. Let’s call them John and
Doris. They’re married with one child and John has three
children from a previous marriage. They buy an apartment
(joint ownership) in Paris, owning it "en indivision"
(tenancy in common). Poor John dies, leaving Doris
everything in his will. Here’s where it gets tricky. French
inheritance law overrides John’s will. Rather than
receiving John’s half of the Paris apartment, as he
intended, it must be shared among the four children as
prescribed by law, so Doris only receives one-quarter of
John’s share.


This is just an example of what can happen. This week and
next the Paris Property Insider discusses these issues and
offers insights and suggestions on dealing with these
important matters–with some lighter reading thrown in.
Read on and enjoy…


A bientôt,


Schuyler Hoffman,
Editor, Paris Property Insider
E-mail: propertyinsider@internationalliving.com


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


In this issue:


*** You Can’t Give Away What’s Not Yours to Give
*** Just What Did 17th-century Nobles See in Place
Dauphine?
*** The Tax Man Cometh
*** Rent, Buy, Sell–The Property Section Does it All


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*** FRENCH INHERITANCE LAW LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS


When you buy property in France your ability to give it
away or bequeath it is governed by French inheritance law.
You are not free to do with it as you please. Your legal
heirs have mandated rights to a certain proportion of your
French property, known as the "Reserve Legale." You can
only freely give away or bequeath the remainder (Quotit
disponible).


For example: If you are survived by one child you can give
away no more than half your French property. If you are
survived by two children this limit drops to one third; to
one quarter if you are survived by three or more children.
If you have no children, other members of your family may
qualify as legal heirs and so enjoy mandated rights to a
proportion of the property. A husband or wife is not
considered a legal heir and has no right to the legal
reserves. French law, however, allows you to make certain
disposals to your spouse which go beyond what she or he
would be entitled to if they were a mere stranger.
France’s forced heirship system of inheritance is based on
the French family tradition that properties must remain
within the family. A bit unrealistic today, but it is still
the law. Consequently, means to work around the system have
been developed.
Next time we’ll discuss the system more and some of the
options available that allow you to avoid the effects of
the inheritance law.


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*** WAS HENRI IV THE FIRST FRENCH REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER?


By David R. Peterson


At the same time that King Henri IV was building the
residential square that would eventually be known as Place
des Vosges (discussed in an earlier article
http://www.internationalliving.com/paris/show_eletter.cfm?el
et=9162), he was pursuing another real estate venture not
far away. Henri, wanting to create a "capital" city to
reinforce and centralize his authority over the nobles and
lords in the countryside, had chosen Paris, the old capitol
of the Franks, to embellish with his royal favor.


Place des Vosges (then known as Place Royale) had provided
a fashionable "modern look" to the dark and dreary medieval
city by importing the classical architectural style that
was so popular in Italy at the time. As the elite bought
houses in the Place and settled in the area, the population
of the Marais would grow, and these conditions would help
Paris increase in importance and power.


In the early 1600s Henri turned his attention to the marshy
west end of one of the two islands in the Seine, the Ile de
la Cité, and the unfinished bridge which attempted to
connect the two banks of the river. This island was the
original Roman settlement, the location of the cathedral of
Notre Dame and the royal palace, and yet the edge of the
island was in large part half walled garden, half marsh.


In 1604 Henri completed the "Pont Neuf" (New Bridge) which
provided an opportunity to fill in and stabilize the point
of the island which it spanned. In the middle of the
bridge, at the very tip of the island, Henri IV’s wife
Marie de Medicis erected a statue of the king. On the
opposite side Henri built, in 1607, a series of connected
houses around a triangular central open space, matching the
triangular shape of the end of the island itself. A gap
between the arms of the triangular arrangement of
townhouses allowed a direct view from one end to the other,
terminating in the statue at the tip of the island.


The townhouses were very similar to those in Place des
Vosges and incorporate the stylish Italian mode of rounded
arches, decorative stone quoins at the corners, keystones,
and regularly-sized and regularly-spaced windows. The
triangular "square" was named in honor of Henri IV’s son,
the Dauphine and future Louis XIII, and is today called
Place Dauphine.


Sadly, in 1874 with the wholesale renovation and
reconstruction of the Ile de la Cité by Baron Hausmann, one
of the three sides of the triangular place was demolished
to afford a better view of the façade of the adjacent
Palais de Justice to the east. Additionally, and unlike the
Place des Vosges, the individual townhouses in Place
Dauphine have undergone more small-scale alterations, which
over time have resulted in a much less cohesive fabric than
Place des Vosges. However, with one’s back to the Palais de
Justice, looking on axis at the statue of Henri IV, one can
recreate a sense of one of the new fashionable locations
that so enchanted the nobles of 17th-century Paris.


Editor’s Note: David Peterson is an architect and
architectural historian in Seattle, Washington. Having
taught architectural history at the University of
Washington, he now works for a Seattle firm and as a hobby
conducts architectural history tours of Paris
through tour operator SkyVue Paris Adventures
(http://www.skyvue.com)


*** FRENCH TAXES COST THOSE WHO INHERIT


When you buy property in France you not only need to
consider the inheritance law, you must also consider gift
and inheritance taxes. Those who receive any or all of your
property are required to pay these taxes. The amount of tax
depends on how closely related the beneficiary and the
deceased are, and there is no spousal exemption.


A lifetime gift of your French home or an interest in it
will incur a gift tax–"droits de donation." On your death
your French property will incur a succession tax–"droits
de succession." French inheritance taxes are lowest for
heirs most closely related to the deceased… children’s
automatic rights to inherit come with lower tax rates.


While similar breaks exist for spouses, cohabitating
partners are treated as complete strangers, with the worse
rates. Regardless of who your are, these taxes are high,
ranging from 20% in cases of direct lineage up to a
staggering 60% for heirs who are more distantly related or
inheritors who are not related at all.


Dealing with these taxes is a complex subject. There are
ways to ameliorate their impact. We will discuss these
further next week, but be advised, they require careful
planning and professional advice and assistance. As part of
your process to buy property in France we encourage to
consult a professional on these issues.


* * * * PROPERTY SERVICES FOR RENTING AND BUYING * * * *


International Living’s Paris Office offers consulting
services to assist you with every aspect of renting or
buying an apartment.


Through our apartment listings and associations with
apartment managers we can help you find the ideal vacation
get away. If you plan to be here for a longer period we can
also assist you with mid to long-term rentals.


Interested in buying your own apartment? We can create a
package for as much or as little assistance as you need.
From
merely locating an apartment to helping you through
each step of the process, to helping you set up utilities
or do a renovation, we can help.

<
font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
To inquire about our services and fees, please contact
Schuyler Hoffman at
propertyinsider@internationalliving.com?subject=ConsServ


*** APARTMENT AND HOME RENTAL SERVICES


Through our associations with rental agencies and
individuals we have resources to locate the ideal apartment
or "maison" for you. Whether you’re looking for short-term
or long-term, less expensive or luxury, we can help. The
following section contains examples of properties we have
available: Limited Time, Year Round Short-Term, Outside of
Paris, Homes in the South, and Upscale apartments.


** LIMITED AVAILABILITY


Parisians often rent out their apartments for a limited
time while on vacation or out of town. We work with private
owners to assist them in finding short-term renters. The
following is a selection of apartments available only for a
limited time:


* Fully furnished and equipped one bedroom apartment. Lots
of charm, sunny, in building with an elevator. Located near
the Bastille and the Marais. $750/week, $2,600/month,
$2,900/five weeks, utilities and maid service included. One
week minimum, non-smokers preferred. Available August 26 to
September 30.


For information and reservations contact:
parisrentals@internationalliving.com?subject=#barryagonnet


** FEATURED YEAR-ROUND SHORT-TERM RENTALS


Looking for an apartment anytime of year? This is where
you’ll find it. We work with a number of agencies and
individuals who represent short-term rentals available all
year long. Below is an example from this category. For a
full listing, please visit our website:
/parlerparis/property/forrent.html


* Champs Elysées Duplex
Comfortable and cozy, fully furnished two-story apartment
can sleep up to four people. Two huge windows light the
living room and accent the high ceilings. Located on a
beautiful, quiet and secure street (near ambassadorial
residencies), it’s only a five minute walk to the Métro.
Stay here and you’ll be surrounded by gourmet food and wine
shops, and luxury boutiques. Offered at $700 per week.


For more information on this apartment, please send an
email to:
mailto:ParisRentals@InternationalLiving.com?subject=#ghimmin
gsChampsElysees


** APARTMENTS OUTSIDE PARIS


* Le Point d’Or. This ideal vacation rental is located just
one half hour from Biarritz in a complex on the beach, with
views of the Pyrenees Mountains. A duplex studio (two
floors), it comes with a sofa bed that sleeps two, a second
floor mezzanine with a queen-size bed. Offered at 700 euro
per week (7 days) August through September, 320 euro per
week after September 1st. Pictures and more details
available here:
/parlerparis/property/pointdor.html


For more information on this apartment, please send an
email to:
mailto:ParisRentals@InternationalLiving.com?subject=LePointd
Or


** PRIVATE HOMES (PRIMARILY IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE)


Our full listing of homes for rent can be found on our
website at
/parlerparis/property/homerentals.html


* Paradise in Provence: La Vernatelle
This exquisite contemporary private residence can be your
home away from home while vacationing in Provence. Paradise
for the person who appreciates fine esthetics, the restored
farm house dating back to 1682 sits on seven acres of olive
and chestnut trees, terraces and gardens in the heart of
Provence. "La Vernatelle" is less than 20 minutes from
Saint Tropez, nestled in the forest of La Garde Freinet en
Provence.


Pictures and complete details available at:
/parlerparis/property/lavernatelle.html


** FEATURED UPSCALE/LUXURY APARTMENTS


For those who are seeking a special, unique, elegant, chic
apartment, we offer the following examples. For a full
listing, please visit our website:
/parlerparis/property/upscaleapartments.html


* Luxury living with a view of the EIFFEL TOWER
This luxurious 1500 square-foot two-bedroom/two-bath
apartment (plus a study) in the corner on the 5th floor of
a magnificent Haussmann style building, sits on the edge of
the 7th arrondissement with breathtaking views of the
Eiffel Tower and is decorated professionally in perfect
taste, all to American luxury standards. Perfect for two
couples (four person maximum occupancy). Offered at
$300-$425 per night, it is available for a minimum of five
nights.


For more information, contact:
mailto:ParisRentals@InternationalLiving.com?subject=Suffren


*** RENTING AN APARTMENT ON YOUR OWN


Use our online form and your detailed request is
automatically sent to the rental agencies and apartment
managers we recommend. If they have an apartment that
matches your request, they contact you. It’s that simple.


You’ll find the form here:
/parlerparis/property/rentalrequestform.html


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


COMING TO VISIT?


Why not stay in the finest pied-à-terre in Paris:
/parlerparis/property/mazarine.html


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