UK opt out abandons UK holiday home owners to legal quandary
Date published: 13 March 2012
Bury MP, Arlene McCarthy has slammed the UK Government’s decision to opt out of new EU laws aimed at helping avoid legal disputes and lengthy procedures when settling inheritances where the laws of more than one EU country may apply.
Consumer Champion and Local Euro MP, Arlene McCarthy said: “Recent reports have predicted that by 2025 1.3million British citizens will own properties overseas and around 75% of them will be in Europe.“
“Despite increasing numbers of Brits owning property in the EU the UK Government has chosen to opt out of new rules we will be voting through today, which could prevent legal disputes and lengthy procedures for Brits when settling issues of cross-border inheritances. Labour Euro MPs will not back this new law because it leaves millions of holiday home owners in a legal quandary.”
Arlene who has accused the UK Government of neglecting to speak up for the interests of British citizens during the negotiation of the new EU law on succession and wills, said: “We had a real opportunity to give all UK citizens owning holiday properties in the EU the legal certainty of applying English law to their estates and wills. Instead we have ended up with a dog’s breakfast, where UK permanent residents in other EU countries can choose English law while UK holiday home owners will have to use the succession and will law of the member state where they own a property.”
A British holiday property owner in France will be liable for French succession law. In France children are the main inheritors of the estate, not necessarily the children of the current marriage and the spouse has virtually no protection. Further uncertainty is created as any gifts or donations to charities made in their lifetime can be clawed back by the heirs.
Arlene added: “All UK citizens could have had the benefit of the choice to apply English law to their wills. The UK opt out is effectively an opt-out of protecting the millions of UK holiday home owners across the EU.”
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