Life insurance: the protection of reserved heirs– Get a quote for free

Interested in the risk of circumvention of the hereditary reserve by the game of life insurance, the public authorities do not wish to introduce legislation aimed at protecting the heirs.

Published on 2020-06-23 15:00:00

Interested in the risk of circumvention of the hereditary reserve by the game of life insurance, the public authorities do not wish to introduce legislation aimed at protecting the heirs.

The holder of a life insurance policy can pay premiums, the amount of which is completely free. He can also hold a significant part of his assets within such a contract. Using the beneficiary clause, he can, at the time of his death, benefit one or more beneficiaries designated from among the heirs themselves or a person outside the family.
In addition, the premiums paid on a life insurance contract are not part of the insured's estate and therefore escape the inheritance rules established to protect the reserved heirs. Thus, upon the death of the insured, the latter, when they have not been designated as beneficiaries, will then have no right to the paid-up capital. To avoid that the reserved heirs are deprived of their rights, the law protects them by opening a specific legal action based on the concept of manifestly exaggerated premiums. The purpose of this recourse is to call into question the transmission of capital to the beneficiary (ies) of life insurance and to reintegrate into the deceased's estate, either the excessive part, or the totality of the premiums paid. You should know that this legal action has been shaped by case law and is based on a certain number of criteria which make it possible to judge or not the excessive nature of the premiums paid.

Accuracy: the criteria appreciated by the judges are: the age of the subscriber, his family situation, his financial situation and the usefulness of the contract for the saver.

During a question and answer session, a senator drew the attention of the authorities to this problem. The senator recalled that there are no legislative provisions specifying the conditions of the exaggeration. And that the solution of a dispute between beneficiaries and reserved heirs rests solely on the judge's interpretation of the concept of exaggeration. He asked whether it would not be advisable to invite the legislator to provide elements of appreciation of the “exaggeration” on which the judges can rely to dismiss or on the contrary to validate the claims of heirs who are fearing reservations to be deprived of their rights.
Response from the Ministry of Justice: 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. A working group returned an important report on this subject to the Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice, on September 13, 2019, opening up many avenues for reflection. Life insurance issues are among the topics covered.To be continued…

Rep. Min. n ° 15361, OJ Senate of June 18, 2020

Article written by Fabrice Gomez and published on 2020-06-23 15:00:00 – © Les Echos Publishing – 2020