What assets to declare in an estate and how to value them?

The declaration of succession is an administrative formality which, when it is not too complex, can, in certain cases, do without the intervention of a notary and be carried out by the heirs and legatees.

What assets to declare in an estate and how to value them?

The declaration of succession is an administrative formality which, when it is not too complex, can, in certain cases, do without the intervention of a notary and be carried out by the heirs and legatees. Here are the rules to follow.

Upon the death of a loved one, the subscription of a declaration of succession is in principle, except in the case of an exemption, compulsory. A single one can be enough for all the heirs and, when it is not too complicated, it can be carried out without the intervention of a notary. Provided that it mentions all the information necessary for the calculation of inheritance tax and in particular that it correctly identifies all the assets that must be included (whether these assets are taxable or not) and evaluates them in detail - at note that in the presence of real estate, the accompaniment of a notary is mandatory.

All of the property held by the deceased on the day of his death must appear in the declaration of succession. This obviously includes movable property such as cash (cash, bank accounts, savings accounts, etc.), listed and unlisted securities (stocks, bonds, company shares, etc.), furniture and other movable property (goodwill, jewelry, works of art, collections, etc.). To estimate them, we generally base ourselves on the real market value of each property on the day of death. For listed securities, this will be, for example, the average of their highest and lowest stock market prices on that day or the average of the last 30 prices before the death. For jewellery, works of art and collectibles, there are several possibilities. Either a public sale is organised, within 2 years of the death, which will determine their final estimate. Failing this, an estimated document is drawn up within 5 years of the death. Failing this and in the absence of an insurance contract, the detailed and estimated declaration of the parties is retained. Furniture (furniture) can also be the subject of a public sale or a legal inventory drawn up by a bailiff or notary. Failing this, a lump sum equal to 5% of the inheritance assets (excluding goods exempt from inheritance tax), before deduction of debts, will be applied. Please note that life insurance contracts are treated separately. Two scenarios (concerning contracts taken out since 11/20/1991 and premiums paid from 10/13/1998): for premiums paid before the age of 70, a specific deduction is made by the insurer after application of a deduction of €152,500 per beneficiary. For premiums paid after age 70, the fraction above 30,500 euros is subject to inheritance tax.

Also concerned are buildings such as houses, apartments, apartment buildings, cellars, car parks, but also land, etc. To assess these assets, again it is the real market value (market price) on the day of death that applies. With regard to the principal residence of the deceased, it is possible to benefit from a reduction of 20%.

Under certain conditions, assets may be subject to total or partial exemption from inheritance tax. These include, subject to compliance with certain conditions, shares or shares in companies which are the subject of a collective and individual commitment to conservation, woods and forests and shares in forestry groups when these have is the subject of a commitment to sustainable management, rural property given on a long-term lease and shares of Groupement Foncier Agricole (GFA), certain historical monuments and certain investment properties.

There remains a significant point: everything that can be deducted from the amount of the estate asset. This is called "deductible liabilities" and concerns the debts that exist on the day of death – because, as a reminder, inheritance tax is calculated on the net assets, once the debts payable by the deceased have been deducted. These are, for example, funeral costs up to 1,500 euros, the costs of opening a will, taxes owed by the deceased or even outstanding loans not covered by death insurance. Please note that not all debts are deductible, such as the lawyer's fees incurred by the heirs. Once the declaration is completed, the net assets are divided between the heirs and legatees and each will pay the inheritance tax there is solidarity between the co-heirs, except those exempt from inheritance tax) depending, where applicable, on the relationship with the deceased and after application of the various deductions that may be applicable.

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