There are a few things you ought to consider before you complete the purchase of your property – such as discussing the succession laws and perhaps changing your marital contract and tax regime – if you are not very fluent in understanding the French language it is advisable to appoint a notaire who speaks English.
The Notaire is the most qualified professional of the French legal system as it takes seven years to qualify. His qualifications allow him to advise on specific areas of law, such as Property Law, Family Law and Corporate Law. He is a Public Official and can advise his clients wherever they may be in France without any restrictions.
The Notaire has the power to legalise agreements such as property sales which cannot be enforced by any other means.
French Succession Law
Inheritance Law in France is very different to the Inheritance Law in the UK. In England you may, by writing your Will, leave your assets to anyone you wish (even your wife and children). However if you do this and leave out someone who can prove financial dependency on you, they could contest your Will and overturn your wishes.
The French Succession Law protects your heirs (in other words, your children), even if you have made a Will to the contrary. Your spouse is not recognised as a protected heir. French law works on blood relations, not marriage relations
It is extremely important to be fully aware that if you are buying property in France, and have children and/or step-children, that you will be leaving only a part share of the property to your spouse.