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Good savings are no longer enough to protect your spouse in the event of death. This one is almost excluded from the succession compared to children. In addition, inheritance taxes can be exorbitant with a maximum of 40% for large estates.
To protect their spouse and avoid inheritance rights, life insurance is preferred by French households. But in its classic form, it is not necessarily an ideal tool.

Favor the life insurance contract
on “two heads”
Life insurance
has the huge advantage of being a savings contract
excluding tax
producing attractive returns. he
is therefore very common to see a spouse take out a contract
by designating his wife or husband as beneficiary. But
this solution is not the best. The community regime
legal is a major source of default in the life insurance contract.
A contract taken out by a spouse is generally supplied by
community money. But in case of divorce, the
contract is considered a common good to be reinstated
in the community. The contract must in certain cases be redeemed,
lose their tax clearance and be subject to taxation
if he is redeemed before he is eight years old.
In addition, the tax legislation does not completely leave a life insurance contract exempt from taxation since a contract exceeding 152,500 euros is subject to a 20% reduction under article 990-I of the general code of taxes.

The best solution seems to be a life insurance contract on “two heads” that is to say by making the two spouses two joint subscribers and co-insureds. The beneficiaries can for example be children.
Two solutions are possible. The first is the inclusion in this contract of a clause which stipulates the payment of capital and interest to the surviving spouse on the death of the first spouse. In this case, under article 132-16 of the Insurance Code, the contract is the property of the surviving spouse and thus escapes inheritance, and therefore tax, including that of article 990-I.
The second is to stipulate the payment of funds to beneficiaries upon the death of the surviving spouse. In this case, the contract survives the death of the first spouse and becomes a contract with only one insured: the surviving spouse. So this one will be completely free to pay or withdraw the funds from his contract as he sees fit without fees or taxes.

Protection systems of the Civil Code

Donation to the surviving spouse

From its real name the donation between spouses, it differs from classic donations, since it only produces effects on the death of the donor.
If it is not stipulated in the marriage contract, it is added to the legal rights of the spouse. It concerns the goods at the time of the donation as well as all future goods. But she must not reduce the rights of heirs reservists, so it only concerns the amount available. Donations to the last living are recorded in the Central File of the last wills provisions. The notary responsible for the succession will therefore be aware of it.

But if it is stipulated in the marriage contract, this prevails over bequests and is in no way limited to the amount available. In addition, she will be out of succession therefore totally tax free.
The problem is that the gift clause in a marriage contract is irrevocable, even in the event of divorce and remarriage.
It is always possible to integrate it into the marriage contract by an additional clause before a notary.

The precipit clause

The preciput clause, referred to in article 1515 of the Civil Code, allows the surviving spouse to take priority before the reserved heirs one Property which can be the primary or secondary residence. This can extend to movable property or a sum of money in order to meet the first needs following death.

Find out more: Guide to inheritance and donations, Michèle Auteuil and Florence Lebras, 288 pages, 19 euros, Editions Maxima