Inheritance: It becomes much easier to care for your spouse’s child

It is a small revolution that should change the situation in the approximately 300,000 mixed families in France, which therefore have at least one child, of which only one of the adults is the father or mother, and where the couple has been married or remarried. . If the reform is implemented, the donations that will be given to this stepchild by a stepparent will actually be largely exempt. But beware, the situation will remain complex at the civil level, especially if, as in half of mixed families, the couple’s current children are also present.

The expected reform

It is very simple: in the current tax system, no subsidies have been given for donations between non-relatives. Thus, tips intended for a son-in-law or a daughter-in-law are taxed from the first euro and at the maximum rate of 60%. In this respect, it does not matter the involvement of the stepfather or stepmother in the child’s education and his investment in the relationship!

The planned reform will introduce a deduction of 100,000 euros for this type of transfer, identical to that which would be used for donations to grandchildren or nephews and nieces. Please note: To take advantage of this, the couple must be married. Pacsés and concubines would therefore be excluded from the reform in advance. If these conditions are met, as shown in our table, the tax savings will be high: it will reach up to 60,000 euros, which will be based on the maximum amount of exempt donation.
Attention, in addition to this threshold, the amounts remain taxed at a confiscation rate of 60%.


(1) Spouses married under the rule of law. Hypothesis: donation to the last of the living with the possibility of 100% right of use. If Jules dies first, the right of use will be calculated on Jules’ remaining assets, after donations.
(2) Or half of the common inheritance, and its own inheritance.
(3) Taxation up to 60%, for donation between non-relatives, without deduction.
(4) Taxation at 60% after deduction of 100,000 euros for gift to spouse child.
NP: Not applicable.

How to treat all recipients fairly

Until now, most mixed families who want to reduce the cost of a donation have undergone a simple adoption. The process requires that you are at least 28 years old on the side of the adopter and 15 years separated from the adopted child. The child, if he is over 13 years old, must also give his consent, to a notary. Like the spouse, before a notary or on free paper. The adoption is then mentioned in the margin of the adoptee’s birth certificate. “It then makes it possible to make donations in favor of the current tax deduction of 100,000 euros between parents and children,” explains Marion Calmette, at SG Private Banking. Just so with any biological children of the adopter.

This status also allows the adoptee to obtain the status of forced inheritance (but this is not the case in relation to the adoptive grandparents, who therefore retain the right to make inheritance free). Such an adoption remains revocable, but only for a judge, and for serious reasons (ingratitude, scandalous misconduct, violence): therefore precluded from returning to it in case of separation of the couple, for example.

The reform planned by the re-elected president should therefore greatly simplify the task for mixed families. “We can expect the number of adoption requests to fall when this € 100,000 reduction takes effect,” confirms Versailles notary Aurélie Chaplain. Although the simple adoption could retain a small advantage, as the reduction allowed in such a framework should logically go from 100,000 to 150,000 euros thanks to the reform.

How to favor a particular recipient

Except in cases of adoption, donations to a stepchild can only be given on your available portion, so as not to amputate biological children’s hereditary reserve. Remember that this only increases to a third in the presence of two children, or a quarter from three. As our table shows, by a gratuity of a larger amount, this reserve can be quickly used up, even though the donation has not provided any taxation for tax purposes! This is the case in our table for the donation of 100,000 euros, which corresponds exactly to the intended reduction. The biological children would then have the right to claim compensation of 25,000 euros between them. For a donation of 150,000 euros, taxed this time, the possible reduction action will even reach a total of 75,000 euros, half of the bonus.

You should also know that these procedures are lengthy and involve notaries trying to find an agreement between the parties before going before a judge in the absence of consensus. To avoid disagreement, it is otherwise possible to review a life insurance contract in which the stepchild is designated as the beneficiary. The trick makes it possible to combine tax benefits (exemption from inheritance tax up to 152,500 euros of transferred capital if the amounts are paid before the subscriber’s 70th birthday, and taxation of 20% in addition) and civil (the capital is considered to be outside property, and included therefore not in advance in the calculation of biological children’s hereditary reserve). However, this solution can only be used to transfer at the time of death and not at the young age of the stepchild.

And note: it will also be necessary to protect oneself from any excess. Because in the case of “excessive premiums”, which a court will appreciate according to their date, and also of the property situation of the holder of the contract, it is still possible to appeal the child reserves.

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