Un inventaire de succession – do you need one?

Un inventaire de succession is an estate inventory that lists a person’s furniture, decorative objects, paintings, jewellery and other personal effects.

This legal document can be useful, and in some cases mandatory, following the death of a loved one.

When it could be useful

  • to limit the risk of litigation between heirs by facilitating the equitable sharing of the deceased’s property;
  • when the actual value of the deceased’s principal residence belongings may be less than the lump sum of 5% applicable in the absence of an inventory.

For example: if the estate includes a single property valued at €600,000, the furnishings in this residence will be valued, according to the 5% flat rate, at €30,000.

By having an inventory drawn up, it is noted that all the furnishings in the residence have a market value of €6,000.

Therefore, instead of paying inheritance tax on the lump sum value of €30,000, the heirs will pay it on the actual value found during the inventory: €6,000, thus reducing the tax base by €24,000.

Mandatory inventories

Un inventaire de succession is mandatory in the following situations:

  • when one of the heirs is legally protected as a minor or an adult under guardianship or tutelage ;
  • in the absence of an heir, who could not be contacted at the time of the succession ;
  • when you accept the estate up to the net assets, i.e. you do not pay debts that exceed the value of the inheritance, thus protecting your personal assets ;
  • when one of the heirs retains the usage of the deceased’s “furnishings” (i.e. furniture and decorative objects), jewellery and other personal objects.

Setting up an inventaire de succession

The notaire goes to the deceased’s home accompanied by an auctioneer. The heirs are usually present or represented. All heirs must have been informed of the process.

The auctioneer proceeds piece by piece, attributing a price, called “la prisée”. Once the inventory is completed, it is appended to the notarial deed.

Until the end of 2020, the cost of an inventaire de succession is set at €92.31. As of the 1st January 2021, this will drop to €90.55.

Find out more about what you need to do following the death of a loved one here.


  1. While I (sort of) understand the reasoning behind this, it is not a pleasant experience. When my mother in law died the notaires came round to her quite humble home and started going through her things putting a price on them! One quote was 100 euros for a 20 year old fridge. I told them if they can sell the fridge for that they can take it! It is really not pleasant and for most of us mere mortals just another way to make you pay tax on stuff that has already had taxes paid on it.

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