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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12067
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My wife died recently. We have no children. My wife's parents

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My wife died recently. We have no children. My wife's parents both died some years ago. I have been asked by a French lawyer (dealing with a small bit of land in the names of my wife and myself) to provide "an official UK document" stating that my wife has no heirs other than myself. Have you any idea what this might entail and where I could get such a document in the UK?
My understanding is that, in the absence of any children of our marriage and with both my wife's parents having already died, that I am indeed my wife's heir. I am at a loss as to how to officially prove a negative, though, as requested: how could I prove that we had no children, for example?
Thanks for your question. The document you need is an Affidavit drawn up by a solicitor or notary and signed by you confirming the position as state in your narrative to me. The solicitor or notary will countersign the Affidavit, the document can be authenticated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and then sent to the French lawyer. The document is essentially a formal declaration by you that you are your wife's sole heir under UK law. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can you clarify something please? You state that the affadavit you mention will declare that I am my wife's sole heir under UK law. What I really need would be for the affadavit to declare that I am my wife's sole heir under French law, in particular with French land law (if it differs), as this entire matter refers to a small bit of land, as I mentioned. My understanding is that under French land law, my wife has no heirs, apart from myself, if both her parents have died and we had no children of our own. Therefore, surely I would need the affadavit to state that both her parents were dead and that we had no children?
I look forward to your reply and will be very happy to do my credit rating the minute we're done. Please let me know if I should be doing that immediately, though.
Understood. Ask for clarification from the French lawyer whether he just needs a factual Affidavit that your wife had no children and that her parents's prdeceased her and that you are her husband OR whether it has to state that under French law you ar her sole heir. I suspect that the latter will not be necessary as a factual Affidavit can simply be applied to the law in France as part of the estate process but you should get this clarified. In the UK the lawyer seeking the document would normally draft it but I was thrown by your original narrative that mentioned an "official UK" document. As you rightly say there is no document in existence that proves a negative like that hence the idea of the Affidavit is the way that we would normally proceed in the UK. I hope that helps.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I am starting to think that what the French lawyer wants is the affadavit stating that my wife's parents are dead and that we had no children of our own. My understanding is that, under these circumstances, in the case of French land being solely involved, this means that my wife has no heirs apart from me. I am being particular because my wife and I made wills which specify a trust to protect our house and I don't want to confuse the French with all that!
Yes I think you are right to try to keep it as simple as possible and not mention anything about your affairs in the Uk. Let me know if Incan help you further. If not, I am pleased to have been of assistance and would ask that you leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.
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