Life insurance: pay attention to donation requalification

It is well known. Underwriting a life insurance contract allows, through the beneficiary clause, to benefit a loved one. Several rules must be followed, as long as you know a number of inconveniences. This is exactly the purpose of Antoine’s question, which asks the experts of the “Grand rendez-vous de l’épargne” (Capital / Radio Patrimoine). Our reader, who wants to pay the sum of 300,000 euros on a life insurance policy for which he has appointed a woman as a beneficiary, wonders if, in view of his income – limited to 2,000 euros net per month – he does not run the risk see this reported amount reclassified as a donation.

Nathalie Couzigou-Suhas, a notary in Paris, is in charge of illuminating it in the “Ça vous concerns” section of our show. And start by recalling some rules that are essential to a good understanding of a life insurance policy. “In principle, everything that a beneficiary receives under life insurance does not fall into the estate,” she said. The capital received on the death of the life insurance policyholder is not part of the estate. It escapes the rules, both the ratio and the reductions. ” But what exactly are they?

The rule of the relationship to succession

In short, everything that is given in life to an heir must be reported, that is, reinstated, to the estate. “It is presumed that this is an advance that you have made and that on your death, the heir will take a little less than the others since what he has previously received will be deducted,” said Maître Couzigou-Suhas.

Also pay attention to respect the rule of the hereditary reserve, warns the specialist. For on the death of the subscriber, what he has given must be fictitiously reported to a successive estate, on which the share of the heirs’ reserve is calculated. „Imagine that a person leaves a child and has given 300,000 euros to another person, for example his brother, and that when he dies, there is only 100,000 euros left. That makes a total mass of 400,000 euros. Comme l’enfant must have half of this meal. He will be able to sue the person who received 300,000 euros to receive 100,000 euros in part. “

The premiums are clearly exaggerated or unintentional

In the case of life insurance, the sums paid are not subject to the binding rules of the relationship to the estate, under Articles L-132-12 and L-132-13 of the Insurance Code … unless the amount in question is not considered excessive. The judge then looks at the subscriber’s income and assets. In the case of Antoine, “it is probable that the judge considered that payment to be manifestly excessive. He can also decide that he is partly reportable, ”said Nathalie Couzigou-Suhas. It should be noted that the income and assets taken into account are those observed on the day of payment, and not on the death of the subscriber.

And the notary warns that the risk of reclassification does not stop at the only amount paid to the beneficiary: „The judge will look at the absence of hazard. If the person did not have a clear interest in paying, reclassification is possible as a disguised or indirect donation. ” As in the case of an excessive premium, it will then be reinstated in the mass divisible between heirs.

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