Test your legacy for a SPA-type animal protection association

Whatever the reasons that motivate you – family conflicts, the desire to support the animal cause, to maintain your values ​​after your death, … – you plan to bequeath your inheritance to an association for the protection of animals. There is no minimum amount for a scholarship. What does the law allow you to do? What steps must be taken for such a project to succeed? We answer all the questions you may have.

Test your legacy for a SPA-type animal protection association

Legal restrictions

In France, you can not give what you want, to whom you want, in a completely free way. But in the modern world, where mobility is greater, things can get complicated:

  • When the country in which the death takes place is different from the country in which he resides,
  • When the country of death is different from the country of which he is a national,
  • When movable and / or immovable property of the deceased is situated in a country other than that in which he is a national or resident.

It is so-called foreign elements that lead to qualifying a succession as international. This is also the case when heirs are foreigners. The first step in an international legacy will be to establish the applicable law:

  • For real estate, which is the place where the real estate is located,
  • Movables (amounts of money, bank accounts, furniture, etc.), which is the deceased’s last residence.

Since 17 August 2015 (EU Regulation No. 650/2012 of 4 July 2012), the entire inheritance is subject to the law of deceased’s last residence, whether you have property or relatives in that country. If this reform aims to simplify the rules in Europe, it could also be a source of complications. If the deceased was resident in France at the time of his death, it is a French notary who deals with the inheritance. However, if the deceased was resident abroad at the time of his death, the estate is only treated by a French notary if it includes real estate located in France.

The meaning and limits of the will

In order to better control his inheritance and trace the inheritance after his inheritance, it is generally advisable to write a will.

There are three main types of wills:

  • that holographic will written by you without a notary. It must be handwritten, dated and signed. Partial or complete typing on a computer or typewriter leads to cancellation,
  • that authentic will which involves reciting your last will and testament by a notary in front of two witnesses. You and the three others present sign the document, which is then kept by the notary,
  • that mysterious will is like the authentic will except that there is no reading aloud. You write it down, sign it, and put it in a sealed envelope in the presence of the notary and the two witnesses.

A will is registered by a notary in the Central File of Last Will Dispositions (FCDDV).

In France, if a will allows you to define an heir as an association for the protection of animals, the law protects the legal heirs and their share of the inheritance thanks to what is called hereditary reserve, that is to say, the part of the inheritance which is to accrue to the deceased’s children or, if the deceased has no descendants, to his or her spouse. The available quota, which you are free to dispose of (and therefore allocate to an association) varies depending on your situation:

  • 75% of the property if you do not have children but have a spouse,
  • 50% of the property if you have a child,
  • One third of the property, if you have two children,
  • 25% of the fortune if you have three children.

You should also be aware writing place of the will. Where such a document is present, the notary must ensure that it complies with the law of the State in which it was drawn up. If the testator e.g. wrote his will in France, and made hereditary for his children abroad to bequeath his inheritance to an association for the protection of animals, this will be invalid because of the rules we have just stated. However, if the will is made in the United States, these provisions will in principle apply.

It is actually known that Anglo-Saxon law allows at his death to distribute his fortune much more freely than French law. Anglo-Saxon law makes it possible to ensure that one’s inheritance is fully transferred to an association for the protection of animals.

If you do not have children or a surviving spouse (but only nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles or cousins), you are completely free, even in France, to use your assets as you see fit, and therefore bequeath them to the animal cause. Without a will, the state is named recipient of all your assets.

Note that a childless couple must write two separate wills, one for each member of the couple. A will written by two people is not valid.

How to make a grant for a SPA-type animal welfare association?

The animal welfare association you want to bequeath your assets to can only be appointed:

  • if it is recognized as being for public benefit,
  • if it has been notified for at least 3 years,
  • if its activities are of a philanthropic, educational, scientific, social or humanitarian nature.

Associations that do not meet these conditions can only receive manual donations.

There are then three types of scholarships that pertain to the portion of the property you wish to transfer:

  • that universal heritage (it is the whole of your inheritance that you bequeath),
  • that universal heritage (it is a portion of your inheritance or a particular category of property that you bequeath),
  • that personally bequeathed (property or a sum of money is precisely indicated).

The form of the scholarship and your conditions will be specified in your will. We strongly advise you to seek help from a notary to ensure that your wishes are expressed within the framework of the law, and therefore your project will succeed. Also remember that a scholarship given in favor of an association or a foundation must be notified to the prefect of the department where the association is headquartered.

It is also important to ensure the sustainability of the association to which you want to bequeath your assets. An important organization, such as the SPA or the 30 Million Friends Foundation, provides guarantees to its benefactors and can also accompany you through your steps.

Designate an animal welfare fund as a universal legatee?

By designating a non-transferable or inheritance taxable animal welfare fund as an exclusive grant, you give the fund the opportunity to benefit from a portion of the inheritance tax.

In fact, if you want to bequeath € 100,000 to a friend or distant relative, he or she will have to pay 60% inheritance tax and will eventually only receive € 40,000. However, if you designate an animal protection fund as a universal legatee, it will receive a total of 60,000 euros (if no inheritance tax) and will pay the inheritance tax for the beneficiary you have designated (60% of 40,000 €, ie 24,000 €). Eventually, your recipient will receive € 40,000, but the 30 Million Friends Foundation will have inherited € 36,000 (€ 100,000 – € 40,000 – € 24,000), which would otherwise have been paid to the state.

The simplicity of the life insurance contract

It is possible to designate an association or an animal welfare fund as a beneficiary of a life insurance contract. It is a quick and easy process which, unlike a will, does not require you to draw up an official document or consult a notary.

Life insurance is a savings contract that can also meet a commitment goal with an animal welfare association. You remain free to make punctual or regular withdrawals and payments. You can change the beneficiary at any time and therefore designate an organization working for the animal cause as the beneficiary of an existing life insurance contract: a simple endorsement is enough.

The bank or the insurance company with which you have signed the contract has a duty to inform the association of its designation as the beneficiary. When the time comes, the remaining capital is paid out immediately and directly without administrative procedure and free of charge, if the association or fund is not subject to transfer or inheritance tax.

Some associations or foundations working for the animal cause may also perform conditions that you may impose, such as caring for your animal after your death. You can also ask them to maintain your grave! These are things that are discussed upstream with the organization you want to support.

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