French Eckert law n°2014-617 of 13th June, 2014 about inactive accounts has entered into force on the 1st January, 2016. It concerns both individuals and legal persons.
Inactive account: definition
A banking account is considered as inactive if it meets the following cumulative conditions:
- for 12 months, or 5 years in case of term account, it has not witnessed any transaction other than interest and fees or commissions of all kinds or payment or repayment of capital or debt securities;
- and the account holder, his legal representative or the person duly empowered did not enter into contact with the bank by any means and has not made any transaction of any kind on this bank account or another account open in the books of the bank.
This delay is of 12 months as from the death date of the account holder, in the absence of expression of his (or the) heirs.
Inactive account: what consequences?
In the absence of reactivation of the account, the funds will have to be transferred to the “Caisse des dépôts et des consignations” after a period of 10 years as from the last registered operation or contact, or 3 years as from the date of the death of the account holder. The funds are only retained: they can be refunded to their owner during 20 years (or 27 years in the case of the death of the account holder). Over 30 years, the funds will become the property of the French State and will therefore be definitely irrecoverable.
After having sent a first correspondence to inform the client or his heir(s) about the inactivity of the account, the bank has to remind him annually about his situation, and how to reactivate it. Then, the account holder will be informed about the upcoming transfer 6 months before the deadline.
Inactive account: how to reactivate it?
There are two solutions to reactivate an inactive account in order to avoid the transfer of its credit balance to the “Caisse des dépôts et des consignations”:
Inactive account: what cost?
- one operation on the account initiated by the account holder, the legal representative or an authorized person,
- a contact such as an e-mail, or a phone call.
Inactive account holding fee are limited to 30 EUR per year (amount fixed by French Arrêté in force on the 1st January, 2016).
For further information, we invite you to consult French Eckert Law n°2014-617 of 13 June, 2014 and the related French “Décret d’application n°2015-1092” of 28th August, 2015, on www.legifrance.gouv.fr