As globalization continues to make the world smaller, the number of potential traps estate-planning practitioners will encounter grows larger. In the not too distant past, the phrase “multi-jurisdictional planning” meant there was a New York domiciliary with a Florida vacation home. With 50 states and the District of Columbia, the United States, essentially, has 51 different jurisdictions, each with its own set of succession laws and probate procedures. Planners need to familiarize themselves with laws that aren’t part of their everyday practice and potentially open ancillary probate proceedings. To avoid possible complications, planners often implement techniques such as titling real property located out of a client’s state of domicile in the name of an inter vivos trust. This simple and cost effective technique can avoid ancillary probate and, generally, ensures the property goes to the intended beneficiary. 

But, what about a country that doesn’t recognize such trusts? Or, even the principle that testators have the right to leave their property to whomever they please? Suddenly, the differences among the various U.S. jurisdictions seem minor. This issue has been in the headlines in the last few years. For example, last year, the U.S. press widely commented on this issue when James Gandolfini’s estate plan bequeathed Italian real estate without regard to Italian succession law.1 Given that each European country has its own set of rules that can impact the ultimate disposition of property situated in that jurisdiction, namely forced heirship regimes, anyone owning property in Europe needs to appreciate that local laws may apply and, ultimately, impact the disposition of the property located in those jurisdictions. 

 

Cross-Jurisdictional Planning 

Despite the differences among U.S. jurisdictions, freedom of testation is a concept they all hold in common. With the exception of a surviving spouse’s elective share or other relatively limited restrictions,2 individuals generally have the right to make lifetime or testamentary dispositions of their property to whomever they please. This freedom gives individuals and their estate planners great latitude in structuring an estate to achieve their dispositive goals. However, this flexibility isn’t universal, as assets located abroad may be subject to the succession laws of the jurisdiction where the property is situated.

While the right to give property as one chooses is a cornerstone of U.S. succession law, the right to receive an inheritance is a cornerstone of many European jurisdictions’ succession laws. For example, returning to the laws that could apply to James Gandolfini’s Italian real estate, Italian succession rules restrict the freedom of testation by creating reserved shares in the estate.3 The amount of these reserved shares varies, depending on which family members survive the decedent. In a common scenario in which a decedent is survived by his spouse and two children, the children are entitled to receive one-half of the estate, while the surviving spouse gets one-quarter. In addition, lifetime gifts are considered and could further reduce the small share of the estate over which the decedent has testamentary freedom. 

French law, similarly, has the concept of a right to an inheritance of a portion of the estate, referred to as “la réserve,” though there are differences between the French and Italian systems. Even European systems that purport to allow for testamentary freedom have more limitations than the U.S. application of this concept. For example, the freedom to make testamentary dispositions of one’s estate is protected by the German constitution.4 However, unless the testator can show sufficient cause in his last will, a descendant or spouse of the deceased has a right to a payment from the estate in an amount equal to one-half of that individual’s intestate share.5 

For Americans with property in European countries, the question becomes: To what extent will the various laws on succession apply? The answer is that it depends, as different European countries weigh different factors in determining what law applies and to what property. France will apply its own law to real property located in France and the law of the decedent’s domicile (that is, domicile as it’s understood under French law, which is more akin to the U.S. concept of habitual residence) at death to the rest of the estate.6  Other countries, such as Germany and Spain, follow the succession laws of the decedent’s nationality.7 For an individual with dual citizenship in the United States and Italy and with property remaining in Italy, U.S. law may not apply for property in Italy.8  

 

New Uniform Default Rule 

While the European Union (EU) has made great strides towards uniformity, with many jurisdictions either eyeing or decrying a federal system of government, it’s moved more slowly in terms of creating a uniform set of rules to govern succession. As a result of the unionization of Europe over the years, it’s become easier and more common for an individual to hold property in multiple European jurisdictions, yet the lack of uniformity in succession laws has made effective estate planning complex and difficult. After a failed attempt to create some uniformity in the Hague Conference in 1989, little progress occurred until quite recently.9  

In 2012, the EU adopted Regulation 650/2012 (the Regulation), commonly referred to as “Brussels IV.”10 Under the Regulation, all EU countries, except the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark, which all opted out, will (as of Aug. 17, 2015) have a uniform rule for determining what law will apply to the disposition of a decedent’s property in these jurisdictions. This development will significantly change estate planning and administration for those who hold property in any of the 25 countries that are “Member States” under the Regulation’s terms.11 

There are two overriding provisions of the Regulation that should be noted. First, the rules regarding the choice of applicable law aren’t dependent on the decedent being a citizen or resident of one of the Member States, nor does the applicable law need to be that of a Member State.12 Thus, the provisions of the Regulation are relevant to any person who has property located in a Member State. The second is that the applicable law shall govern the entire estate, effectively eliminating any distinction between real property and other property, such as under French law, as discussed previously.13

In terms of what law will apply, “the law applicable to the succession as a whole shall be the law of the State in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death.”14 Instead of some countries looking to the law of the decedent’s nationality, place of domicile or residence, now there’s one uniform rule—the law of the decedent’s place of “habitual residence” at the time of death shall govern. 

While this rule seems to simplify matters, there are two issues in applying it. First, the term “habitual residence” isn’t defined in the Regulation. The preamble to the Regulation does provide some guidance, stating:

 

[a]n overall assessment of the circumstances of the life of the deceased during the years preceding his death and at the time of his death, taking into account all relevant factual elements, in particular the duration and regularity of the deceased’s presence in the State concerned and the condition and reasons for that presence. The habitual residence thus determined should reveal a close and stable connection with the State concerned taking into account the specific aims of this Regulation.15 

 

In some cases, the habitual residence of a decedent may be obvious. However, as noted in the preamble, determining a decedent’s habitual residence “may prove complex.”16 The preamble provides examples, such as someone who was resident in one place due to business but kept his family and social ties elsewhere or the case of someone who moved so regularly that determining the last place of habitual residence would be difficult. Though the preamble provides examples, it offers no answers or bright line rules, but such is the nature of international law.  

The second issue in applying the rule of habitual residence is there’s an exception to the rule. Another jurisdiction’s law may apply if “it is clear from all the circumstances of the case that, at the time of death, the deceased was manifestly more closely connected with a State” other than that of the habitual residence.17 Once again, there’s no clear rule on what constitutes a situation in which this exception would be implemented. Thus, there’s a general rule that’s not entirely clear and an exception that’s also not entirely clear. While this situation may not be ideal, come Aug. 17, 2015, these provisions will take effect in the 25 Member States, so planners for individuals with property in any of these jurisdictions must be aware of this significant change.

 

A New Tool 

While the Regulation may create a new default rule that has some uncertainties, it provides estate planners with a potentially powerful tool that can provide a greater degree of certainty and may provide a more desirable law to govern the disposition of property. Under Article 22 of the Regulation, “[a] person may choose as the law to govern his succession as a whole the law of the State whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death.”18 This clause allows any individual with property in one of the 25 Member States to proactively select the law of his citizenship.19 In the case of an individual with dual citizenship, he may select which nation’s laws will apply. This choice gives Americans, including those with dual citizenship, who would otherwise potentially be exposed to forced heirship rules, the ability to effectively reclaim their freedom of testation. 

Timing matters for making the election, both in terms of what law will apply and the effectiveness of the election. A U.S. jurisdiction’s law may be chosen if the person making the election is a U.S. citizen at the time of the election or the time of death. For those who are U.S. citizens for life, this timing requirement is of little concern. However, for those considering expatriation to a jurisdiction that has less testamentary freedom, making the election prior to renouncing citizenship could make the timing matter a great deal. Likewise, an individual who plans to obtain U.S. citizenship may still make the election to have U.S. law apply prior to becoming a citizen, provided that the person ultimately dies a U.S. citizen. 

As this provision of the Regulation doesn’t apply until Aug. 17, 2015, no effect will be given to the election for those who die prior to that date. However, that doesn’t mean that planners and their clients can’t take this new tool into consideration now. Individuals may make the election now, provided that it complies with the provisions of the Regulation, and it will be valid if the individual survives until Aug. 17, 2015.20 Thus, planners should be considering the election and potentially implementing it if it would be beneficial to their clients

There are some issues that must be considered in applying this election. One question of particular concern for Americans is what law would apply if the election is made. The text of the Regulation says that a person can choose the law of “the [country] whose nationality he possesses ...”21 This provision presumes that the country has a single law of succession; however, the United States has no national law of succession, as each U.S. state has its own set of laws. So, the question becomes: Which U.S. state’s law would apply? 

The Regulation includes provisions for selecting the law of a country that has multiple territorial units in determining which law should apply. The first analysis under the Regulation is to apply the country’s internal conflict-of-laws rules.22 The United States has no codified federal set of conflict-of-law provisions to determine which state’s law should apply, and its jurisprudence, generally, leaves the issue of succession to the states.23 However, both the federal and state jurisprudence, as well as the Restatement Conflict of Laws, suggest that a decedent’s domicile is the proper determining factor.24 So, there’s an argument to be made that domicile would be the appropriate determination of which U.S. state’s law should apply. 

However, this outcome is by no means certain, given the lack of codified rules in the case of U.S. citizens who are domiciled abroad and not in one of the U.S. states. The Regulation provides that in cases in which a country doesn’t have internal conflict-of-laws rules and the individual’s nationality is the determinative factor, the law of the territorial unit to which the decedent had “the closest connection” will apply.25 This approach seems to produce a fair result in line with the purposes of the Regulation, as it allows U.S. citizens to elect a law, but not to forum shop, by providing guidance on which state’s law should apply. For U.S. citizens domiciled in a U.S. state, that would be the state with which the individual had the closest connection. U.S. citizens domiciled abroad should be able to select the state with which they had the closest connection.  

Another important aspect of the election is the elimination of renvoi. The concept of “renvoi” is an aspect of private international law that can create further complexity in determining which law will apply. The underlying issue of renvoi, which translated from French means “to send back,” is whether one jurisdiction will accept another jurisdiction’s conflict-of-law’s approach calling for the original, or a third, jurisdiction’s law to apply. For example, prior to the Regulation coming into force, the law of a Member State may call for a U.S. state’s law to apply to an estate of a person domiciled in the Member State. Generally, U.S. succession law for all but real property is based on the decedent’s domicile. Thus, the U.S. state’s law would call for the law of the Member State to apply, as the decedent was domiciled there. Does the Member State accept the reference back to its own law or the renvoi? The answer is—unfortunately—it depends what Member State you’re looking at. This confusion can be avoided as a result of the Regulation to the benefit of the individual making an election. Under the terms of the Regulation, no renvoi would apply if an individual made an election for a certain law to apply.26 A U.S. individual domiciled outside of the United States, who makes an election for a U.S. state’s law to apply, would do so even if that state’s conflict-of-law rules would have applied the law of the person’s domicile. 

Importantly, in the absence of an election, Member States will accept renvoi from non-Member States. Thus, if the U.S. jurisdiction’s conflict of law would apply a Member State’s law to real property located in that Member State, that European jurisdiction would accept renvoi and apply its own succession law. Thus, for those habitually residing in the United States holding real property in a Member State, relying on the new default rule wouldn’t remove the property from potential forced heirship rules. 

Procedurally, to make the election, a U.S. individual would include it in his will. The Regulation requires that an individual seeking to avail himself of the ability to select the law of one’s nationality must do so “in a declaration in the form of a disposition of property upon death…”27 For a U.S. individual, this would be his will, provided that it’s valid in the applicable U.S. jurisdiction.28 In making the election, the testator should be stating that the chosen law applies not only to the disposition of property and administration of the estate, but also to the substantive validity and admissibility of the will.29 If, for some reason, the individual wishes to revoke the choice of law that was properly made, he must do so in a fashion that “meet[s] the requirements as to form for the modification or revocation of a disposition of property upon death.”30 So, a revocation of the will or a codicil amending the specific election would effectively revoke the choice of law previously elected. 

It should be noted that in the absence of an election regarding the choice of law, under the Regulation, the law that would be applied by a Member State to the validity of the testamentary instrument is similar to the default rule in regards to the applicable law of succession, which would, generally, be the jurisdiction of habitual residence. However, the timing is different, as the succession law that would govern the administration of the estate is determined by the habitual residence at the time of the person’s death, while the law regarding the validity of the document is based on where the person was habitually residing at the time the document was executed.31  

One issue that may concern planners is whether the election will have the desired effect in practice or, in other words, whether each of the 25 Member States will implement another country’s law (especially the law of a non-Member State) identified by an election or the decedent’s habitual residence in the absence of an election. Some commentators have expressed concern over Article 35 of the Regulation, which allows a jurisdiction to refuse to apply another country’s law “only if such application is manifestly incompatible with the public policy (ordre public) of the forum.” Further, the preamble suggests that the Regulation doesn’t prevent a court from rejecting the application of another jurisdiction’s law to stop evasion of the law (fraude à la loi).32 With the various Member States’ own legislative and judicial systems, not to mention those of the EU itself, all having to act in relative uniformity going forward in what constitutes a valid public policy reason to reject the application of another jurisdiction’s law, there’s some reason for caution. 

While concerns over how the Regulation will be implemented across so many jurisdictions and the public policy exception are understandable, they shouldn’t serve as an excuse to ignore the Regulation or not take advantage of electing the law of a testator’s nationality to apply if beneficial for three primary reasons. First, presumably, the public policy exception would be inappropriate in a standard case of a U.S. citizen, or any other nationality for that matter, electing the law of their citizenship. If Member States began rejecting the choice of law of a foreign citizen, or that of a decedent’s habitual residence, solely on the grounds that the chosen law differs from the forum’s own succession laws, it would undermine the Regulation’s entire purpose. Second, claims of violating public policy or trying to evade a certain applicable law should be fairly limited in the case of an individual electing a choice of law, because the choice is fairly limited under the terms of the Regulation. A testator can only choose the law of his nationality—not that of his place of residence, place of domicile or location of property. Given that nationality, as opposed to residence or location of property, is a fairly fixed factor, and the ability to choose one law to govern all succession matters prevents a testator from actively trying to cherry pick a certain set of succession laws, claims of public policy or evasion of the law should be fairly limited. 

Finally, the Regulation is coming into effect regardless of potential uncertainties and concerns regarding its application. It provides an important tool that could help U.S. citizens avoid the forced heirship rules of the Member States and allow for one law to apply to the administration of the estate throughout the Member States. Even if a forum court in one of the Member States decides not to accept the election of a U.S. state’s law by a U.S. citizen, the decedent is left in no worse a position than had the election not been made, as the court would then, presumably, apply the law of the decedent’s habitual residence or that of the forum country, which would have applied in absence of the Regulation. Thus, if a U.S. individual has property located in one of the Member States and the election of a U.S. state’s law would prove beneficial if ultimately applied by the forum court(s), an election should be made, despite any uncertainty.   

 

A Case Study 

The following example illustrates how powerful the new tool can be when the Regulation comes into force. Tom is a successful corporate executive at an international business. Though Tom is a U.S. citizen and was previously domiciled in New York, work has taken him to Europe for an extended period of time. Tom has resided in Germany for several years and would be considered domiciled there for U.S. purposes. He has property in the United States and Germany, as well as a piece of French real property that he acquired when he was working in France.33 What law will apply when Tom dies? It depends on when he dies and what estate-planning steps he took. 

 

1. Prior to Aug. 17, 2015: Germany would apply U.S. law to the property located in Germany, as it applies the law of the decedent’s nationality. However, applying a U.S. jurisdiction’s law, U.S. conflict-of-law provisions generally apply the law of the decedent’s domicile to all but the real property, so U.S. law would call for German law for tangible and intangible property, as Tom was domiciled in Germany. Because Germany has renvoi under its private international law, it would then apply German law to the estate. However, France will apply its own law to the French real property.

 

2. Regulation in effect with no election: As Tom was habitually resident in Germany, both Germany and France would apply German law to the estate’s property over which they had jurisdiction. As Germany is a Member State, the reference to German law would be to German domestic law, and there wouldn’t be a referral on to U.S. law. Thus, even though Tom took no action, the law applicable to the French real property has changed. 

 

3. Regulation in effect with election made: If Tom validly elected U.S. law, presumably that of New York, to apply to the estate, the succession laws of New York would apply. Although New York’s conflict-of-law provisions would have the law of the decedent’s domicile apply, Member States would reject renvoi under the terms of the Regulation. Therefore, New York law would apply to the entire estate located in Germany and France. 

 

If Tom had made lifetime gifts, was seeking to provide unequal inheritances to his children or wanted to have assets held in trust, being subject to the laws of Germany and/or France could prevent him from implementing his dispositive goals. Tom could avoid these problems by making an election for U.S. law to apply.

 

Simplifying Probate 

The Regulation not only helps individuals plan the disposition of their estates during life, but also, it will help those administering these multijurisdictional estates. One issue that can often complicate multijurisdictional estate administration is local law limiting who may serve as the executor or administrator and what powers that person has. The Regulation directs that the individual entitled to administer the estate under the applicable law should be appointed by a Member State.34 In addition, the powers that the executor or administrator may be given by the Member State are those the executor or administrator would have under the applicable law of succession.35 However, the Member States’ courts have discretion over what powers are permitted under applicable law, as they may place restrictions on the exercise of the powers if the Member State court finds it necessary to protect those who have an interest in the estate, such as creditors.36 Further, when the applicable law is that of a non-Member state, such as a U.S. jurisdiction, the Member State “may, by way of exception” determine that its own local law should govern what power the executor has.37 While these exceptions may limit the potential benefits of the Regulation, it generally puts those who are appointed as executors in a better position than they’re in under current law. 

Another issue that often complicates multijurisdictional estate administration, even within the United States, is presenting documentation attesting to the authority and powers of an executor or administrator duly appointed by an appropriate jurisdiction. While the documentation is usually effective in the jurisdiction it’s issued in, its validity may not be recognized or understood outside of that jurisdiction. This disconnect often leads to the executor having to obtain local documentation, which may only be possible with ancillary probate proceedings. The Regulation seeks to address this issue within the Member States by creating a European Certificate of Succession (the Certificate).38 An executor may, but isn’t required to, petition a Member State court that has jurisdiction over the estate to issue a Certificate. The Certificate would provide details as to what law governed the administration of the estate, who was appointed executor and the powers the executor has.39 Just as important as the Regulation allowing the executor to obtain a Certificate, parties located in any of the Member States who transfer property to an executor on the basis of the Certificate are deemed to have given the property to someone properly authorized to receive it.40 How the Certificate will work in practice is yet to be seen, but in theory, it may be easier for a Croatian appointed executor to act in Finland than a California appointed executor to act in Florida.  

 

A Tool, Not a Panacea 

While the Regulation and the ability to elect a single law to apply across the Member States can be a powerful tool, it’s by no means a panacea for the complexities and potential traps of international estate planning and administration. For example, the Regulation specifically excludes matrimonial property schemes from its scope.41 Thus, Member States that have community property regimes or other similar concepts will still have laws that effectively restrict the right of testamentary freedom by deeming a certain part of the estate owned by the surviving spouse. The Regulation also limits itself to property transferred by succession, as opposed to other common planning vehicles that are based on other contract or property rights, such as life insurance, pension plans or joint ownership.42 The Regulation also excludes from its scope “the creation, administration and dissolution of trusts ...”43 While the Regulation is meant to achieve the significant feat of providing a level of uniformity in estate succession law across 25 sovereign countries—there are limitations, as it doesn’t provide uniformity or the freedom to choose the applicable law regarding many items that are common U.S. estate-planning techniques.  

The Regulation also doesn’t address estate or inheritance taxes imposed by the Member States, which includes whether the Member State will release the assets before any tax liability has been satisfied.44 While the Regulation makes certain hurdles of succession law easier to clear, unless great care is exercised in navigating foreign tax schemes, it could make it more likely that the dispositive provisions allowed under a U.S. jurisdiction’s choice of law triggers additional taxation. For example, the new French system of taxing French assets held in trust means that it will usually make sense to exclude French assets (or indeed, assets in most European countries) from any will incorporating trust provisions or from any pour-over will transferring assets of the estate into a lifetime trust. Thus, it remains essential that estate planning with assets in any Member State include advice from those well versed in the Member State’s local law.

Starting Aug. 17, 2015, the rules governing succession are changing in 25 countries, regardless of whether U.S. planners decide to incorporate into their tool boxes the Regulation’s provision to choose a law. The Regulation presents new opportunities, uncertainties and traps for the unwary, all of which planners need to be familiar with. Planners will still need to consult with local counsel. Cross-border estates are a minefield, and careful planning is vital to achieve an individual’s goals.     

 

Endnotes

1. See, e.g., Paul Sullivan, “A Public Debate Over the Wisdom of Gandolfini’s Will,” N.Y. Times (July 19, 2013). 

2. For example, Louisiana, despite having significantly reduced the situations in which forced heirship rules will apply, still retains the concept of forced heirship in limited circumstances. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. Sections 1493, 1495, 1496.

3. Art. 536-552 Codice Civile (Italy).

4. Grundgesetz Für Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Grundgestz] [GG] [Basic Law], Art. 14, May 23, 1949, BGBl. S. 1 (Ger.).

5. Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch [BGB] [Civil Code], Sections 2303, 2333 (Ger.).

6. See Code Civil [C. Civ.] Art. 3.2, 102 (Fr.).

7. Einführungsgesetz BGB, Art. 25 (Ger.); Código Civil (Civil Code) Art. 9.8 (Spain).

8. Italy does permit some degree of testamentary freedom; however, a decedent who held Italian citizenship at his death can’t modify the forced heirship shares to heirs resident in Italy. See Article 46 Law no. 218, Italian International Private Statute (1995). 

9. For a summary of past attempts at harmonization of European succession laws, see Barbara R. Hauser, “European Harmonization,” Trusts & Estates (November 2010) at pp. 62-63.

10. Regulation (EU) 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 4, 2012, on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions and Acceptance and Enforcement of Authentic Instruments in Matters of Succession and on the Creation of a European Certificate of Succession, 2012 O.J. L 201/107 (Regulation 650/2012).

11. The 25 European Union countries that will have the Regulation apply and are referred to as “Member States” in this article are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, German, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Though the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Denmark won’t be implementing the Regulation, there’s still some uncertainty as to whether, under the terms of the Regulation, they’re given the same treatment as Members States or “third States” by the 25 states that will be applying the Regulation. The United States is a “third State” under the terms of the Regulation. 

12. Regulation 650/2012, supra note 10, Art. 20, at 201/120. 

13. Ibid. Art. 23, at 201/120-121.

14. Ibid. Art. 21(1), at 201/120.

15. Ibid. Whereas (23), at 201/109.

16. Ibid. Whereas (24), at 201/109.

17. Ibid. Art. 21(2), at 201/120.

18. Ibid. Art. 22(1), at 201/120. 

19. Ibid

20. Ibid. Art., 83(2), at 201/133.

21. Ibid. Art. 22(1), at 201/120. 

22. Ibid. Art. 36(1), at 201/124.

23. See Marshall v. Marshall, 547 U.S. 293 (2006) (for a discussion of the “probate exception” to the federal judiciary’s jurisdictional powers); Ellis v. Davis, 109 U.S. 485, 495-498 (1883) (holding that as the power to make a will is derived from state law, the law governing the instrument and its validity must also be state law).

24. Harrison v. Nixon, 34 U.S. (9 Pet.) 483 (1835) (“In regard to personalty, in an especial manner, the law of the place of the testator’s domicile governs in the distribution thereof …”); Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws Section 316 (1971).

25. Regulation 650/2012, supra note 10, Art. 36(2)(b), at 201/124.

26. Ibid. Art. 34 (2), at 201/124.

27. Ibid. Art. 22(2), at 201/120.

28. Note that the issue of which state’s law is applicable for purposes of an instrument’s validity is similar to that of which state’s law may be selected, as previously discussed. 

29. Regulation 650/2012, supra note 10, Art. 24(2), at 201/121.

30. Ibid. Art. 22(4), at 201/120; Art. 24(3), at 201/121. 

31. Ibid. Art. 24(1), at 201/121.

32. Ibid. Whereas (26), at 201/110.

33. The ownership of French real property presents an interesting example of how forced heirship rules can currently be addressed with proactive planning. A piece of French real property can be placed in a holding company known as a Société Civile Immobilière (SCI). By owning shares of the company as opposed to the real estate directly, the ownership of the shares is deemed a movable object that won’t be subjected to French forced heirship laws for non-French domiciliaries. Despite the benefits of avoiding French succession laws, there are drawbacks, such as additional formalities and potential tax costs associated with SCIs. 

34. Regulation 650/2012, supra note 10, Art 29(1), at 201/123-124.

35. Ibid. Art. 29(2), at 201/124.

36. Ibid

37. Ibid. Art. 29(3), at 201/124.

38. Ibid. Art. 62, at 128.

39. Ibid. Art. 68(i)(o), at 201/130.

40. Ibid. Art. 69(3), at 201/ 130.

41. Ibid. Art. 1(2)(d), at 201/116.

42. Ibid. Art. 1(2)(g), at 201/116.

43. Ibid. Art. 1(2)(j), at 201/117.

44. Ibid. Art. 1(1), at 201/116.