Making use of the real estate/property of old people via a sale with a life annuity can be seen as a tool for managing the risks of old age. These schemes however are subject to strong reserves in France because they halt any project for accumulating an estate, and then passing it on. This should not however prevent one from thinking about possible forms for a sales contract with life annuity, but stripped of those complications linked to the historical and legal conditions attached to their set-up – and this for at least four reasons. First, retirement replacement rates will probably drop in the future, and some recourse to personal saving will then undoubtedly be necessary: preserving ones estate and handing it on intact will perhaps in the future become a luxury, and often not available. Second, independent of the future for retirements, there are still today in France several “pockets of poverty” among the elderly population, which is paradoxical since these older people are very often property owners. Third, while examining but avoiding the emotional problems which it may raise, a life annuity schemes can actually solve the two major problems of many old people: resources and housing. Fourth, the US experience on the one hand, and an analysis of the blockages in France on the other hand, both demonstrate the interest in some form of intervention by the public authorities, and in some institutionalisation of life annuity schemes.
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