How should the liquidation of a succession be organized?

The death of a loved one leads to an inevitable flurry of delicate procedures. Fortunately, most of the time families are accompanied by a notary, whose mission will be to manage the liquidation of the assets, guiding them to determine what to do with their home, their accounts, their assets, etc. Let’s take stock of the course of events …

The notary, the reference

Once the funeral is over and the time of mourning has just begun, it is necessary to make an appointment with a notary’s office to open the succession. As soon as the estate of the deceased exceeds 5,000 euros, there is a will, a donation between spouses or even a property, it is necessary to contact a notary to have a “notarial deed” drawn up proving the quality of the heirs. It is this document that will then allow you to unlock the bank accounts of the deceased, close his life insurance or, why not, register his vehicle in your name.

Although the law gives heirs 10 years to come forward, the financial stakes dictate that they act quickly, and it is in practice in the fortnight or month following death that this contact is established.

You have to go to a notary to have a “notarial deed” drawn up – iStock

Take stock

The notary’s mission will therefore consist in drawing up an inventory of the deceased’s assets in order to identify all his assets, such as his accounts, investments and real estate (this is called assets), but also to list any debts that he did not have time to pay off (in other words, liabilities).

This painstaking work requires a certain number of exchanges with the heirs who will have to communicate to the public official all the supporting documents that they are aware of, from property deeds to bank statements, including those of savings books, life insurance and other bills and statements of outstanding loans. All important financial transactions of the deceased are then examined, including their donations, sales and other exchanges as these transactions can impact the distribution of the estate.

This evaluation is finally concluded by a balance sheet or an inventory in good and due form depending on the complexity of the inheritance.

The notary's mission is to draw up an inventory of the deceased's assets
The notary’s mission is to compile an inventory of the deceased person’s assets – iStock

Settle the accounts

Once the details of each one’s rights to the inheritance have been defined, the notary prepares the final deeds and in particular the declaration of succession which specifies the taxable assets, before having it signed by the heirs in a last meeting. This document is essential as it must be sent to the public finance center of the deceased’s domicile within 6 months of death, in order to inform the Revenue Agency of the sums that have been collected after deduction of the inheritance tax.

This consultation is in fact an opportunity to pay all the costs that go hand in hand with this transmission, such as the cost of the documents drawn up, the amount of the professional’s salary and therefore the famous inheritance rights which consist of taxes imposed by the State. However, we remind you that various tax breaks allow you to reduce this bill and that the children of the deceased in particular can receive up to 100,000 euros each, without having to pay anything.

Once these formalities have been completed, the heirs can then choose to proceed with the actual division of the assets or to remain in co-ownership for a shorter or longer period, but it is better in this case to establish an agreement that organizes this joint management to avoid subsequent conflicts.

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