We need to adjust our marriage.
If your intent is to leave all your worldly goods to your cat, or even your grandchild or favorite nephew, don't move to France…
Or any other country that ascribes to the Napoleonic Code.
For that matter, don't try bequeathing your possessions to your life partner, significant other or spouse, either.
The code is quite specific. It governs; not a Last Will and Testament.
Up until a year ago it was simple:
If one had one child, that child inherited 50% of the property
If one had 2 children, each child inherited 33% of the property.
If one had 3 or more children they equally divided 75% of the property.
If there were no children, the surviving parents received 25% And then the surviving brothers and sisters each got a portion.
Anything left could be distributed at will – to the favorite nephew…. Or the surviving spouse.
Oh, there was some consideration given to the 'surviving spouse', normally assumed to be the wife. She could continue to live in the family home for the duration of her life.
But she couldn't sell it and buy something smaller.
She couldn't get a mortgage on it to fix the leaky roof…. or put food on the table.
Only the heirs could do that.
The children ruled.
Best hope one was on good terms.
It is not possible to disinherit children under Napoleonic Code.
Best get along.
That's why there are such bizarre parcels of land all over France.
A 2 acre vineyard in Burgundy can be owned by 40 different people: One person owns half of a row of grape vines, another owns 3 1/3 rows, etc.
Our property here in the Vendée consists of more than 25 small parcels, all properly surveyed, marked and numbered.
Back to our adjusted marriage:
A year ago the law inched closer to the modern world, at least in France. It is now possible to make the children wait until the death of both spouses to inherit. The spouse can now inherit property, and use it as they chose, children notwithstanding.
But the children are still protected…. and will get their paws on it, eventually.
Cat's and dogs still can not inherit (sorry, girls).
They are 3 types of unions or 'Marital Regimes' here in France:
1. Marriage, en Indivision: Property can be separately owned. Any property purchased within the marriage is considered to be equally owned, each person owning a share.
Upon the death of one spouse, their share is inherited by the children.
If you do not state otherwise, it is assumed your marriage is of this nature.
2. Marriage, Communauté Universelle: All the property in the marriage is community property, belonging, jointly, to both. Upon the death of one spouse, nothing happens as the other spouse is considered as already owning it.
Upon the death of both spouses the children inherit.
3. PACS: A legal arrangement, not quite a marriage, and with some, but not all, of the legal benefits (and restrictions) of marriage. Easier to get into and out of, available to any and all couples/partners, etc.
Since we have never 'declared' we were under the first regime.
Now we are under the second.
And 600 euros poorer.
Don't you just love the law?
Not as much as I love pasta!
Mon mari and I had our annual summer discussion on the definition of 'Salad' the other day.
So, In deference to him, (because I'm feeling magnanimous this morning), I shall not call this a salad…
Make your own decisions, but do try it…. It's a lovely summer side dish or top it with some grilled chicken.
For more pasta ideas visit Hillary at Chew On That on Friday.
She is this week's guest host for Presto Pasta Nights, started by Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast.
Pasta with Fresh Avocado Sauce
1 1/4 cup dried pasta
1 ripe avocado
1 garden ripe tomato
2oz (60gr) Greek or plain yogurt or 1/4 cup milk
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Cut avocado in half around the pit and twist halves – they come apart neatly. Remove pit by inserting a medium-size spoon under the avocado, on one end, as if you are lifting the avocado out of the shell. You will see the pit loosen; just tip the avocado over and it will fall out. Remove each half by scooping with a large spoon.
Roughly chop avocado. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add the avocado and heat, mashing with a fork or potato masher, chunky is fine. When mashed to your satisfaction, stir in yogurt (or milk) and vinegar. Stir well to combine and remove from heat.
Roughly chop tomato. Put pasta in a bowl, add avocado sauce and stir to combine. Add tomato and mix in gently. Serve.
Now, we are off to find a moving company… for August. Yes, we have stepped into the Twilight Zone!
Oh, and brothers and sisters are no longer entitled to inherit anything…nor are aunts, uncles or cousins!