Although the law stipulates that a partner in a civil partnership is exempt from all inheritance rights, it does not grant them any rights to the estate of the deceased.

It is the children who will inherit all of their assets. And if there are no descendants, their parents and/or siblings.

Partners can, however, grant rights to the succession by drafting a will in favour of the other.

Transmitting by will

The extent of what they can transmit depends on the presence of other heirs.

  • In the absence of children, partners can leave everything to their partner.
  • Otherwise, the surviving partner has the possibility of obtaining the share which is not reserved by law to the children (half of the inheritance when there is only one child, two-thirds if there are two children, and three-quarters with three children).

The right to the accommodation

  • The rule: the surviving partner has the right to remain in the dwelling for one year, unless their owning partner has deprived them of this right of temporary dwelling in their will.

Or else, the latter may grant the former by will, the right to live there until the end of their days.

  • If the partner was a tenant, the lease may continue to the benefit of the surviving partner who is reimbursed by the estate for rents paid for a year if the deceased had granted a temporary occupancy right by will.
  • If the partner was the owner, the surviving partner can remain in the dwelling free of charge as the principal residence. If the couple were both owners of the property, the survivor, who is in joint ownership with the heirs of the deceased, can be allocated priority accommodation at the time of death if the deceased had provided for such in their will.

Competition from the rightful heirs

In the presence of children, if donations or a will have allocated to the surviving partner a quantity that reduces the amount reserved by law to the children, they must compensate the latter, unless they undertake to give up in advance the right to request the reduction of the legacies granted to the civil partner which would undermine their reserve.

Worth knowing:

The donation made by one partner to another is irrevocable. It is advisable to opt for a will, which is always revocable.


Reference text:
Articles 1751-1 et seq. of the French Civil Code