19th September 2010

I have written before about problems caused by differing laws across the EU. Napoleon's old statutes still rule: blood ties only are allowed to inherit automatically. So, where a woman's husband dies and she marries again with a 'clause tontine' written into the marriage contract, only children from the current marriage stand to inherit when the surviving spouse dies. Blood is all in France.
Some years ago now, in the UK, I suffered from the aberrations of a relative's last wishes, irrespective of family ties. I, therefore, have some sympathy with the French. Imagine a 90-year old rich widower, his children growing up expecting to inherit his estate, only to see their expectations floored by a dying man's new need for a young companion! Think also of the many wealthy elderly ladies who leave their entire estate to the local cats' home.
On the other hand (and I'm very good at 'on the other hand'..), I also think that when you move to another country, you must accept their laws. I remember only too well how many in the UK would shout to new immigrants: 'if you don't like it here, go back to where you came from!'
The big question facing Sarkozy is: should he stick to Napoleon's original dictat and only allow blood relatives to inherit? Or, should he acknowledge the new, increasingly, complex family structures and allow people to leave their money to whomsoever they wish?
On verra.

1 comment:

George said...

George writes Olga Who are you going to leave YOUR milions to ???