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I own a property in Bordeaux with my wife value €280,000. No mortgage. My mother lives in the house and I regard it as her house. It was initially naught with a deposit paid by my parents of £80,000 and I raised a mortgage for rest. When they sold their UK house they gave me the money to pay off the mortgage. The French property was only put in my name because I had income to justify the mortgage. We have signed a nominee form in the UK (not recognised in France) in which we confirm that we only hold it as nominee for my mother. I want to gift legal ownership to my sister with my mothers consent but the French lawyer that I have insists this is illegal. I woul have to give money (i do not have) to my mother to then be given to my sister to enable her to buy it off me (and wife) and then pay the transfer fees and legal fees to avoid money laundering and inheritance issues in France.......... What should I do to transfer this most efficiently. Russell XXXXXXXX
Actually if you have no pre-nuptial agreement, your wife cannot donate you her share. And yes, if you want to avoid taxes: you mother has to buy the house from your wife and yourself (with money borrowed from you or someone else). Then she can donate it to your sister, with 100000 € tax free and the rest subject to progressive gift tax. If your mother dies in France you need be aware that the donation will be recouped into your mother's estate. And you sister may end owing you (let's say if your mother has no other assets worth more than the house). Likewise, if you loan money to your mother and this money is not repaid at the time she passes away, you sister will be legally liable to repay half of it to you.... Unless you renounce all rights to your mother's estate at that time.
The bottom of the matter is that, as the house legally belongs to your wife and yourself, there is legally no way it can be gifted to your sister, directly or indirectly, without paying rather hefty taxes.