A person who is in a situation where he or she has not been sufficiently cared for by his or her partner (either under a will or under the intestate succession rules) may bring a civil action against the succession under the Succession Act 1975 (Family and Dependant Provisions). However, such claims can be emotionally and financially stressful. To be eligible, convincing evidence must be provided that the deceased intended to marry him during her lifetime. For example, Magali Jaskiewicz`s request was accepted in 2009 after she pointed out that her fiancé had already arranged a preliminary wedding date at the local town hall, just two days before her death in a car accident (moreover, she had already bought her dress). The National Assembly quickly passed a law allowing the President of the Republic to personally approve posthumous marriages – but only under certain conditions. Under the current rules on intestate successions, a surviving spouse receives all personal property and the first £250,000 of the estate, while the rest passes 50% to the spouse and 50% to all children. If there are no children, the surviving spouse inherits the entire estate. The order of priority is as follows: spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. If the deceased has none of that, everything goes to the crown. A few months after the tragedy of the Fréjus dam, the French parliament drafted a law allowing posthumous marriages.
Since then, hundreds of women have officially filed for a so-called post-mortem marriage. Posthumous marriage became legal in France by article 171 of the Civil Code, which provides: “The President of the Republic may, for serious reasons, authorize the marriage if one of the spouses dies after the completion of the official formalities marking his unequivocal consent. In this case, the effects of the marriage date back to the day before the husband`s death. However, this marriage does not confer a legal right of succession in favour of the surviving spouse and is deemed not to have constituted a matrimonial property regime between the spouses.  The South Korean government allowed the pregnant bride of late boxer Duk-koo Kim to “comfort” her spirit by marrying her after a deadly fight with Ray Mancini in 1982. And in Germany, Fritz Pfeffer – mentioned in Anne Frank`s diary under the pseudonym “Albert Dussel” – was posthumously married in 1950 to Charlotta Kaletta, with whom he had lived before going into hiding and eventually dying in a concentration camp. Magali Jaskiewicz, who has been mourning her partner since her death a year ago, became his legal widow in a ceremony with her family and friends. In 2004, a spouse wrote a letter to The New York Times letting people know they had the opportunity to marry their lost loved ones. She described the marriage as perfect, stating that it “stayed in the spirit of a marriage.”  A common misconception is that a relationship develops some sort of legal status over time. The concept of “common-law marriage” is often cited, but the reality, at least in legal terms, is that such a thing does not exist. Unmarried partners are recognized by law for certain purposes, such as means-tested benefits.
However, this is not the case in the event of death and inheritance and may leave the surviving single partner without any provisions. A French woman whose fiancé asked her to marry him in a car accident two days before her death received a posthumous white wedding in her village. The concept of marrying someone who has died is fascinating. There are very few countries that allow this. The intention behind this practice appears to be to allow someone to complete the marriage process in circumstances where the deceased intended to marry but died before it could be completed. This practice is based on article 171 of the French Civil Code, which provides: “The President of the Republic may, for serious reasons, authorize the marriage if one of the future spouses has died after completion of official formalities and unequivocally declares his consent.” This can be evidenced by the prior publication of banns – legal announcements announcing an intention to marry, the purchase of rings or a wedding dress, the sending of wedding invitations, etc. and must be confirmed by their parents. Some women were married vicariously to soldiers who had died a few weeks earlier.
This practice has been called posthumous marriage. Posthumous marriage for civilians began in the 1950s when a dam broke and killed 400 people in Fréjus, France, including a man named André Capra, engaged to Irène Jodart. Jodart asked French President Charles de Gaulle to let her go to his wedding plans, even though her fiancé had died. She enjoyed media support and was allowed to marry her fiancé within months. It is likely that the posthumous marriage (a posthumous marriage) was contracted as an extension of the French proxy marriage.  The France is currently the posthumous marriage capital of the world. This practice dates back roughly to World War I, when the fiancées and girlfriends of slain soldiers married their fallen vicarious lovers. In 1950, the French government legally clarified the ritual.
According to this legislation, the living spouse must obtain the consent of the country`s president and minister of justice. Then, a simple ceremony takes place where the bride or groom stands next to a photo of their partner. The phrase “until death do us part” is removed from vows and “I will” is replaced with “I did.” Examples of ways to legally show intent include the man posting banns (official marriage announcements) or written permission from a soldier`s commander in the local courthouse.  Posthumous marriage is legal in France, but must be approved by several officials and the family of the deceased. The France is one of the few countries where it is legal to marry a partner posthumously.  Under French law, posthumous marriages are possible as long as it is proven that the deceased intended to marry his partner during his lifetime. According to Christophe Caput, the mayor who married Jaskiewicz, his request was “rock solid”. Other possible motives are a long history of living together, raising children together or the death of the fiancé in particularly tragic circumstances such as a natural disaster, war or terrorist attack. This was the case of Etienne Cardiles, who married Xavier Jugelé, the policeman shot dead by a jihadist on the Champs Elysee. His pregnant fiancée, Irène Jodar, asked President De Gaulle to allow her to marry and quickly won the support of the press.
(Etienne Cardiles delivers a speech at the ceremony in honor of the murdered policeman Xavier Jugelé, his companion. Photo: AFP) If the deceased were married and separated from his or her spouse, the former spouse would be entitled to the estate more than the surviving partner under inheritance rules. This applies even if divorce proceedings have been initiated – an absolute judgment is necessary to avoid this situation. Irène Jodar stressed the right of her unborn child to be recognized as a legitimate descendant of André Capra, as well as the catastrophic and unforeseen circumstances of his death. The main reason for posthumous marriage in France is the legitimization of the children a woman might have.  It also happens for emotional reasons.  If a valid will leaves property to the unmarried partner, the situation is clear and the partner inherits the property. However, as an unmarried couple, the surviving partner is required to pay 40% of inheritance tax on assets that exceed the zero rate bracket, which is currently £325,000.
Government figures show that posthumous marriages, while unusual, are not as rare as one might expect. Dozens would take place in France each year. If you would like to know how Lexology can advance your content marketing strategy, please email [email protected]. There are also rules to discourage people from pursuing a posthumous marriage for financial reasons. The living spouse does not acquire the right to inherit from the deceased or to benefit from the marriage, but may receive a widow`s pension or spousal life insurance and retain the surname of the deceased if he or she so wishes. Posthumous marriage also demonstrates an individual`s strength to overcome the death of a fiancé.  Article 171 explicitly states that the usual financial aspects of a marriage, such as the dissolution of marital status or the granting of a legal inheritance (i.e. the right of succession of persons whose spouses die without a will), are not applicable. However, the widow may receive a pension and be entitled to insurance benefits.  Marriage is retroactive to the day before the death of the deceased spouse. Even if they were engaged and had posted offers, a posthumous wedding won`t necessarily take place, in part because living fiancés may change their minds at the last minute. A posthumous marriage can also be thwarted by the testimony of a trustworthy person.
[ref. needed] The judge`s role is to ensure that the documents have been completed correctly. The judge cannot question the authority of the documents.   Second, the fiancé of the deceased must demonstrate serious (“serious reasons”) why the marriage is allowed to continue – this is obviously a rather ambiguous criterion, so it is essentially a matter of obtaining the sympathy of the president. If one of the spouses dies without leaving a will, the other always inherits part or all of the estate according to the rules of succession. If there is a valid will that makes provision for the spouse, the spouse inherits according to the terms of that will.