What do you have set up in the event of an emergency - France?

(19 Posts)
Raptorrethy Sun 19-Jan-14 10:18:53

This is quite a convoluted question so apologies in advance blush

Dinner party conversation last night has left me feeling anxious about this. We live abroad (France) but all family back in the UK. We have made wills back in the UK, citing legal guardians for our DCs in the event of both DH and I dying. WE have a copy of this will as does a solicitor in the UK. However, how does it work in a foreign country? We have heard that DCs would be taken into care by French social services straight away in the event of our deaths. We would NOT want this…we would want them with friends until UK family got here asap and took them back to the UK.
Should we give the emergency contacts (listed with the school) a copy of all the UK numbers of family? Should we give a copy to everyone we know, to cover all eventualities? Should we tell friends to get DCs back to UK immediately if anything ever happened to us, so DCs are not 'taken' by social services? Is there something legal we can do here in France so things are in place?

Any suggestions of reassurance most welcome as I am (perhaps irrationally) worrying a lot about this sad

OP’s posts: |
SharpLily Sun 19-Jan-14 10:26:54

You should certainly have a French will if you live here - your English will won't count.

Raptorrethy Sun 19-Jan-14 10:32:49

OK, thank you. Will contact notaire tomorrow.

OP’s posts: |
jenpetronus Sun 19-Jan-14 21:36:41

But hang on! It is changing very soon - you can nominate your will to be valid in the country you made it. But that's for your financial assets - I don't know about contacting family in the events you describe. I think it would be wise to let friends who are close to your family here in France know of your wishes (and you've made me realize we probably ought to do this too)

Raptorrethy Mon 20-Jan-14 08:53:24

Thank you jenpetronus. I must say I have not thought too deeply about it until now blush I had a very dear friend who was an emergency contact with school and it was perfect as she also had details of who to contact in the UK if something happened to DH and me. But, she has moved away sad. I know that I need to do the same again for the new emergency contacts I have given the school…but one of them is a French couple and I don't know that they would necessarily follow my wishes and not just go along with what the French authorities say…if that makes sense. If something happened to DH and I, I want my DCs heading north back to the UK straight away, no question.
Clearly I need to think this over properly and get things sorted to the best of my ability confused
I would be very interested to hear what happened to the DCs of anyone living in France who was incapacitated but I guess it's rare (touch wood!).

OP’s posts: |
EmbarrassingBottom Mon 20-Jan-14 09:28:29

I have just heard back from my notaire and a UK will IS valid in France - phew!! So, in terms of their legal guardians, the UK will stands as they are British citizens. So no need for a new French will.

I am now working on the 'getting them back to the UK' issue...

jenpetronus Mon 20-Jan-14 09:32:01

It's made me think about what might happen too. Also, the ages of your DC's are important too. Like you, my first thought would be relatives in the UK, but then DS1 is 12 and although close enough to UK family, he's much more "French" in every aspect, and hoping to be an intern when he starts at Lycee...but DS2 (5) would certainly need family, no question. Following your thread with interest!

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Raptorrethy Mon 20-Jan-14 09:47:56

Rats - I changed my name for something else and forgot to change it back blush blush

I have now asked my notaire about the 'care' issue and I will post again when I hear from her. My DCs are 6 and 8 and I absolutely would want them back in the UK; plus, their legal guardians are in the UK and they would be brought up there.

At 12, yes, your DS is a little older but I would have thought he'd need family around him, to bring him up, in the worse case scenario of Mum and Dad not being there…but of course you know him better than anyone! Is your DH French? That makes it easier of course…we are both English and have no relatives here.

OP’s posts: |
jenpetronus Mon 20-Jan-14 10:07:12

You're other post appeared while I was typing grin

No, like you we are both British, no other relatives here. It's tricky. We've been here over ten years and neither of them know any other life.

Be interesting to hear what your notaire says. If she is aware of your wishes and has a document to that effect too, it would help surely?

jenpetronus Mon 20-Jan-14 10:07:48

"Your" not "you're" argh!

SharpLily Mon 20-Jan-14 12:32:51

That's interesting, Bottom - we've been sorting out wills over the last year and out notaire has been very firm that our English (and Spanish in my case) wills don't stand over here, partly due to the incompatibility (and inflexibility) of French inheritance legislation. Our neighbours heard the same from another notaire. However what we didn't think to include (because it wasn't an issue at the time) is any clause relating to guardianship of children, so obviously we'll need to look into that. Should anything happen, we would want our (unborn at the moment) child to go to England to my mother in law.

butterfliesinmytummy Tue 21-Jan-14 00:06:59

Our situation is slightly different as we are in the USA but we finalized US and non US (UK and the rest) wills last week. We have copies at home and our lawyers in the uk and us have copies too. They worked together to cover all angles but we have a separate document detailing guardianship of our kids if something happens to dh and me (it's in our wills too).

The most important thing is to tell everyone your arrangements and where to find the documents. We have told our executors, parents and siblings where our wills are and the names of our lawyers. Having a will that no one knows about is almost as bad as not having one.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 22-Jan-14 15:40:09

Marking place. DH and both DDs are French and we live here. However in case of our deaths we would like guardianship to go to family in the UK and absolutely not to DH's family in France. We are planning to see the notary in February to get advice. We will also get UK citizenship for the children. They were born in a third EU country but only have French nationality right now.

FramboiseCoulis Sat 25-Jan-14 21:42:14

Hi
We have wills, we had to make them identical and in French. We did it through our notaire, we paid 75 euros each.
Very easy to do. You can also find examples in French if you google it. We had to state in ours that our child is totally bilingual and that moving to the UK, should anything happen to us, would not be a problem for our DD in terms of language, culture, contact to English family etc.
were told that in the absence of a will, a family court is established (both families i believe) with a legal person to preside over it, to decide what's best for our DD.
That freaked me out! no way would I want DD left here.

Raptorrrethy Sun 26-Jan-14 22:21:00

Thank you all. It seems that the location and knowledge of our will could be the crucial factor, and not that it is in French (if notaire is to be believed).
I think I need to start informing family and close friends ASAP.

PetiteRaleuse Sun 26-Jan-14 22:30:27

I am planning to put something in writing to all interested (uk) parties, stamped by french notary. Will they do that?

Raptorrrethy Sun 26-Jan-14 22:37:34

Good idea. I now have an image in my head of uk family descending into France, brandishing their stamped documents, to rescue our DCs smileconfused

PetiteRaleuse Sun 26-Jan-14 22:45:13

But would that be enough?

Raptorrrethy Mon 27-Jan-14 17:31:45

I don't know hmm

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