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Indeed, when you inherit the usufruit, you cannot sell the property without the agreement of the bare owners, the children. And as long as they are under 18, you will need the authorization of the justice of the peace. In general, the judge will be reluctant to authorize a sale that could result in the children losing their inheritance, unless there is a real need, e.g. because you are moving abroad and need to purchase property there.

Generally, when the children are cooperative, usufruit does not pose a problem. They tend to keep in mind that the other parent still holds half of the total estate of both parents and that they can spend that, leaving nothing to the children except what is left of their bare ownership.

 

If you fear that your children or stepchildren will raise problems or that your children from a first marriage will or, you can take preventive action. You or your partner can use the part of your estate that you are free to dispose of and give more to your spouse or partner (in a Will, by changing a marriage contract,  etc…).