The elaboration of legislative details concerning manifestly excessive life insurance premiums will be part of a reflection on the hereditary reserve. In a written question, Senator de l'Allier Claude Malhuret challenged the Minister of Justice on the usefulness of new legislative measures in order to “provide elements of appreciation of” exaggeration “on which the trial judges to dismiss or on the contrary to validate the claims of reserve heirs who fear being deprived of their rights ”. As a reminder, according to article 132-12 of the insurance code, the stipulated capital or annuity payable upon the death of the insured to a specific beneficiary or to his heirs is not integrated into the estate of the insured.
Today, while there is no legislative provision specifying the conditions of the exaggeration, “is it admissible that the capital likely to escape the reserved heirs depends on the interpretation which the judge will make of the concept of exaggeration, based on the assessment of the usefulness of the contract on the day of its subscription? “, He laments. The court decisions on this point are “all the more divergent since the judges must assess the usefulness of the contract without being able to refer to its use, which must be on the day of payment of the premiums and not on the day of the termination of the contract” , according to him.
Age, wealth and family situation of the subscriber often taken into account
In its response, the department recalls that there is indeed abundant case law on this point. For example, it has been held that exceeding the available quota does not characterize the crossing of this threshold of manifest exaggeration of premiums (Cass. Civ. 2e, July 4, 2007) and that a premium of a global amount of 228,844 euros was not manifestly exaggerated since the subscriber had just received a sum of 313,151 euros in the context of the liquidation of the community (Cass. civ. 2e, 4 July 2007). The age, the patrimonial and family situation of the subscriber, are criteria retained by the jurisprudence to judge of the manifestly exaggerated character or not of the premiums.
“Wider reflection on the hereditary reserve”
But “the enactment of criteria for assessing the exaggerated nature of premiums, as well as criteria for identifying life insurance constituting gifts, must be part of a broader reflection on the hereditary reserve” , depending on the answer. As such, the report submitted to the Keeper of the Seals by a working group on the hereditary reserve opens “many avenues for reflection. Life insurance issues are among the topics discussed. ”
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