Multiple forms of gifts exist such as notarial, disguised, indirect and manual gifts.

Depending on his or her status, the surviving spouse possesses different rights in estate inheritances.

The commencement of an estate results in the commencement of an estate indivision that only terminates once the estate has been distributed.

Transfers for no consideration (‘mutations à titre gratuites’) can be divided into two categories: transfers by death (legal or testamentary inheritances) and inter vivos transfers (direct or indirect, shared (‘donations-partage’) or manual gifts).

Each share in the estate is subject to death duties. The heirs are jointly liable for the payment of these taxes (Art. 1709 of the French Civil Code).

The estate declaration is mandatory for any heir, legatee (‘légataire’), donee (‘donataire’), guardian (‘tuteur’) or trustee (‘curateur’) (Art. 800 of the French General Tax Code). It can be completed without assistance from a solicitor as the latter is not required.

A handwritten (or holographic) will is a private deed that presents advantages due to its secret nature. It does not require any registration or administrative formalities, assistance from a solicitor not, for instance, being a condition of validity for this type of will.

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