Definition of personal property and immovable property in France

In the common language, the patrimony is a common heritage of a group or body, which is transmitted to the next generations. It can of various types : culture, history, language, system of values, monuments, artistic works…

What is the difference between personal property and immovable property?

From a legal point of view, the patrimony consists of all the rights and obligations of a legal person (natural person or body corporate). This notion is limited to the essentially financial aspects.

A difference is made between:

  • pecuniary rights, which are included in the owner’s property such as rights in rem, personal rights and intellectual property rights,
  • non-pecuniary rights, i.e. those related to the person of the property owner such as, for example, life, physical integrity, health, honour, dignity, privacy and image. As these assets cannot be owned as such, they cannot be bequeathed or transferred, nor can they be valued in monetary terms.

Taxation applicable to patrimony

In France, taxation applicable to patrimony differs on the basis of how it was acquired :

  • For patrimony related to the income from patrimony or constituted by saving income from work, the term used is taxe (e.g. property tax , land registration tax, etc.) or impot (income tax, wealth tax, capital gains tax, etc.).
  • For patrimony acquired by gift or inheritance , taxation is done for the mutation and inheritance taxes. And today it is clear that everybody wants to find ways of managing their property that are best suited to their objectives. Since the public is overloaded with information from newspapers, television, the internet, etc., there is a crying need for personalised advice and the public has become very conscious of the need to use professionals.

The notaire and management of patrimony 

In order to meet this demand , the Notaires have drawn up a "Notaire's property advice charter" which enables the public to take advantage of the notaires' training, culture, experience, code of ethics, expertise and legal authority as well as the qualities of independence and objectivity that characterise the profession. For the client the Charter is also a guarantee of the notaire's thoroughness and reliability.

It has long been clear that the best person to help you organise, manage, bequeath and make the best of your property is a notaire. Your notaire is in a special position since he is there to help you throughout your life, whether you are thinking of a PACS, marriage , divorce, purchase, sale, exchange, gift , inheritance or any other operation. The notaire is the best person to advise you since he has an unbiased overview of your property, tax and family situation.

A notaire is therefore well-qualified to draw up property reviews that reflect the client's specific features, financial and career situation, background and, above all, property objectives. He/she is also capable of optimising these criteria according to the client's goals: offsetting profitability and risk, financial levers, the money markets, cash-flow, bequeathing property in the light of the tax situation and family situation.

Frequently asked questions