Have a property in France?-French probate law

An individual wrote recently to say that they had a second home in France and ask, on the basis that they had no surviving relative other than their sister, whether or not they could legitimately leave it to their friends?
 
Of course, owning a property abroad will always complicate the probate process, due to probate laws varying in each individual country.
 
However, in this instance it was agreed that the best way forward would be to include the legacy of the French house within the English Will, given that the individual was resident in England.
 
The only problem with this is that a delay would inevitably occur as English probate must be completed before the property could be legally dealt with in France. 
 
There is no probate law in France which states that the property must be left to a certain individual within a Will. However, it does mean that the beneficiaries (ie the friends) must pay 60 percent Inheritance Tax on the home. Specific wording within the Will can arrange for this to be paid out of the proceeds of the English estate.

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