Wills, planning and probate in France and the UK.

Since 1785 Stone King has provided specialist legal advice to clients from all over the globe and particularly France.

During this time they have earned a reputation  for providing excellent cross-border advice in conjunction with a network of  trusted French lawyers and notaires.

Stone King’s clients include:

  • UK nationals with holiday homes in France and elsewhere,
  • UK nationals who have emigrated to France and elsewhere,
  • French nationals (and other foreign nationals) with assets, family and beneficiaries in the UK and elsewhere,
  • other solicitors and
  • some of the largest charities in the UK.

International Succession

Expert cross-border succession planning saves time and money and avoids protracted disputes.

Through the proper application of  the principles of private international law, Stone King assesses which country’s laws apply to you and how conflicts between laws are resolved, to ensure your wishes are honoured after you die.

This is of particular interest to clients who are adversely affected by the ‘forced heirship’ laws practised in France and elsewhere, especially those with children from previous relationships.

New European Law

Stone King’s specialist expertise in respect of EU Regulation 650/2012 (Brussels IV) is such that they deliver professional training to other solicitors on the new ‘Regulation’ on behalf of the Law Society, as well as leading UK legal training providers.

Stone King also provide expert commentary to the press including: the BBC, specialist expatriate publications and the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP).

Tax planning

Often a concern for clients is tax. Is it payable? How much is payable? When does it need to be paid to avoid penalties and can it be mitigated by double taxation agreements or unilateral UK provisions?

Stone King examines your liability to UK and French tax (including assessing your domicile) and for jurisdictions other than France and the UK they work with colleagues abroad to assess your liability to, and to mitigate local tax.

Stone King can assist with the setting up of offshore companies and trusts, but  in the current climate they are more likely to provide advice on de-enveloping UK residential property held in offshore companies and trusts.

That said, tax is not the only reason for placing assets into trust . There can be personal and succession reasons why an offshore structure would be suitable, although the benefits are presently unlikely to offset the disadvantages for clients with French connections.

Cross Border Probate

Dealing with a loved one’s estate can be distressing and time consuming. Add the complexities of assets and beneficiaries in France and the result can be overwhelming - often causing matters to ‘grind to a halt’ and remain unresolved for years.

A Full Service

Stone King can either guide your executors through the process or take care of everything including foreign funerals and repatriation, to save your loved ones the burden.

Assisted by local agents Stone King deals expeditiously with the various foreign hurdles to ensure legal formalities are addressed and assets are ultimately transferred to the right person.

Such is Stone King’s expertise, they act as consultants to other lawyers and are trusted by some of the UK’s largest charities to assist with foreign legacies.

Services include:

Drafting UK, French and other foreign wills.

International succession planning – who gets what when you die.
Foreign probate – what to do when someone with property abroad dies
Resealing grants of probate.
Powers of attorney for use in dealing with assets in the UK.
Cross border mental capacity issues.
Planned moves and return to and from abroad.
Mitigating other taxes such as Capital Gains Tax.
Forming and winding up foreign structures
Notarial service


Our team are delighted to welcome clients to our London or Bath offices, or if this is impractical we utilise technology such as Skype and Face Time (as well as telephone and email) to provide advice to clients remotely, anywhere in the world.

Contact Daniel (Dan) Harris, Simon Lofthouse or Charlotte Macdonald on +44 (0) 1225 337 599 or by email [email protected] for more information.

Dan Harris
Dan Harris

Simon Lofthouse
Simon Lofthouse

Charlotte Macdonald
Charlotte Macdonald

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