DecryptionImprovement of the rights of the surviving spouse, marriage for all, amicable divorce without going to court. Family law has evolved over the past twenty years but problems remain.
20 years of the “Silver World”
Cohabiting partners, civil union partners, same-sex or opposite-sex spouses, parents raising their child (ren) alone or those of their new spouse… Today, we have to take into account the diversity of families. Consequence of these sociological evolutions: the law, formerly centered around a traditional hearth, had to adapt little by little. “Over the past twenty years, changes in this area have been quite considerable”, considers Pierre Dauptain, notary in Cachan and author of the works 50 years of marriage and 65 points (Pepper-L’Harmattan editions, respectively in 2015 and 2020).
First of all, the protection of the surviving spouse has been improved. “Since the 1is January 2002, his inheritance rights were significantly strengthened. He takes precedence over siblings, so that if the deceased leaves neither children nor parents, he is the one who inherits. In the absence of children, he even became a reserved heir ”, explains Pierre Dauptain.
Since this date, the surviving spouse is assured of being able to occupy the main residence free of charge for one year after the death. “He can also ask to benefit from a right of use on this same main residence until the end of his life. », specifies Marie Monmarché, notary in Joué-les-Tours (Indre-et-Loire), member of the Monassier Group. Finally, in the presence of common children, he can take advantage of the usufruct of the entire estate, that is, for example, to occupy a property or to collect the rents. Another major advance: in 2013, marriage was opened to people of the same sex.
Mitigate financial imbalances
At the same time, the civil solidarity pact (PACS) has grown considerably over the past twenty years. Created in 1999 after bitter debates, this union is now firmly anchored in customs. So much so that in 2018, INSEE counted around 200,000 PACS for 230,000 marriages. This contract, which can now be registered at the town hall, has been greatly improved in recent years to get even closer to marriage.
In 2004, the tax status of partners was thus aligned with that of spouses and, since 2007, on condition that they have signed their will (s), civil partnerships can inherit one from the other without paying any inheritance tax, just like spouses. But the similarities end there.
“There is confusion between civil law and tax law. Of course, civil partnerships no longer pay inheritance tax. But, if nothing has been planned, the partner has no rights. If the couple has children, they will inherit, otherwise the parents of the deceased. And even with a will, the civil partnership does not have the same rights as a spouse. He will only be able to receive the available portion, in other words the portion that the deceased can freely allocate to him and which depends on the number of descendants ”, warns Héloïse Bolle, founder of the company in wealth management Oseille et Compagnie, and author of the book Good accounts make good lovers (Éditions du Cherche-Midi, 2019).
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