IT WILL HAPPEN TO US ALL…so why not talk about it!!!

Ok, it is probably not the best subject to choose to start the New Year but probably the most important so basically, what are the formalities after death in France.

Who establishes that someone is dead?

It is always a doctor who declares someone dead and provides a medical death certificate (certificat de deces). In case of violent death (suicide or car crash for example), it is the police or gendarmerie who do it.

Where do you declare the death?

– Death at home: in case of death at home, it is a family member who does the declaration of death as they are the one with the IDs of the deceased. Most times, the undertakers (pompes funebres) will do it for you.

– Death in hospital or retirement home: in case of death in hospital or any institution, they will do it for you.

What delay?

It has to be done within 24 hours of the establishing of the death by the doctor (outside week end and bank holidays).


At the mairie where the death happened or the mairie where the deceased lived.

What documents do you need?

– An ID of the deceased

– Your ID

– The medical death certificate

Following that, the mairie establishes an « Acte de deces » which is an official death certificate.

This is free and you will need lots of copies of it!

Burial and cremation?

The burial or cremation must be done between 24 hours and 6 days maximum. You can be buried in the commune where you live or has lived in the past. Cremations are done in the crematorium of your departement. The undertakers/funeral people do all the formalities for you.

If you want to take back the ashes to the UK, the urn needs to be sealed by the gendarmes and all that can be arranged by your undertakers/funeral parlor people (pompe funebres in French)

Cost?  Yes, dying cost money!!

– Funeral: the average cost is around 3000 euros as long as you don’t have a Mickael Jackson one!

– Tax and notaire fees: you have up to 6 months to declare the death to the local tax office. That does not mean you will have to pay some taxes. In the declaration, you mentioned the amount you inherit and the % of tax you will have to pay will depend on your relationship with the deceased (no tax between spouse, allowance of 100000 € per children, then 20% tax, etc).

It is the job of the notaire to do that for you and he will take fees for doing it which will be around 2-3% of the assets which belonged to the deceased.

No declaration needed if the assets of the deceased are less than 3000€ or 50000€ and it is the spouse or children who inherit.

How do you pay?

Assets of the deceased: It is important to note that any bank/saving account that are on the name of the deceased will be blocked until the notaire finishes his work (usually takes up to 6 months). If you are married and have a common bank account, do make sure it is under Mr OU Mme. All the other account other than current account are on individuals names so make sure you have one each with roughly the same amount each otherwise the survivor will not be able to access it.

Banks are authorized by law to pay the undertakers from the bank account of the deceased (providing there is enough money in it).

The notaire will pay the death duties (inheritance tax if any and notaire fees) out of the assets of the deceased so he will pay the inheritors their share minus the fees and tax. Note that if they inherit a house and need to sell it to pay the tax and fees, they could have penalties to pay as you only have 6 months from the death to pay them!

Funeral cover: if you don’t have any savings, you can subscribe to a funeral cover. You can be insured between 3000 and 10000€ without a health questionnaire. You can’t die for a year of disease or suicide, but you are insured for death by accident straight away. If you die of disease in the first year, the insurance company pays back the amount you have paid in. It is not like a normal insurance whereby if you stop paying your premium you stop being insured. You receive a statement every year showing 3 lines. The first one shows how much you are insured for and it follows inflation. The second shows how much you are insured for if you stop paying the premium. The last shows how much is available if you want to shut down the policy completely. That means that if you are still alive after 10 or 15 years, you can afford to stop paying the premium as you will have enough cover already. As an example, a person born in 1947 and insured for 3000€ would pay around 20€ per month with my company and we offer a 10% discount for couple subscription.

Assurance Vie: those are not life insurance, they are savings accounts with advantages. It is one of the most popular account in France as you can name the beneficiary and therefore the beneficiaries have access to this money on the death of the owner and not 6 month after!

It also gives an allowance of 152500€ to each beneficiaries (on top of the other allowance via notaire) as long as you put the money in before you are 70 years old. Otherwise it is an allowance of 30500€ for the policy and not per beneficiaries.

I hope this has not put you off dying!! And please feel free to contact me for any further information on all the above or even for a free quote on a funeral cover (all I need is your birthdate and how much you want to get insured for) or an Assurance Vie.

I can also calculate the amount of death duties and/or notaire fees you loved one could have to pay. Yes this is FREE.

Contact : Isabelle WANT 0617303911

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