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Inheritance: what is the legal right of return of parents?

Verified 23 June 2021 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The right of legal return allows you to take back the goods you gave to your child, if he or she dies without descendants. You don't inherit your child automatically.

Please note

in practice, the donor parent often provides in the deed of gift for treaty return clause.

Your legal right of return is limited to half the estate of your deceased child (1/4 of the estate for the father and 1/4 of the estate for the mother).

When the property cannot be returned (for example, if it has been sold), you recover it as a sum of money equal to its value, up to the estate. You must contact the notary in charge of the estate to recover the property concerned.

Example :

Your son dies without children. His inheritance is €200,000.However, you had given him your second home for a value of €160,000. Your son sold this residence before he died. Upon his estate, you exercise your right of legal return to this property. So you receive €100,000 right of return. That is half the amount of the estate (1/4 for the father, 1/4 for the mother).

The right of legal return of parents is exempt inheritance tax.