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Spanish Wills


If you are non-resident in Spain, my advice for you is to have a Last Will & Testament made to distribute your Spanish assets in the event of your death.

The Spanish Laws on Inheritance state that, on your death, your estate will be shared amongst the heirs according to the rules of the country of origin from which you originate.

New regulations Spain

Most European nationalities (heirs of the Napoleonic Civil Code), with the exception of the British (Common Law System- Anglo-Saxon), that, as per their countrys Laws of Inheritance, the children have an automatic right to a part of the Estate on your death, even if they are not expressly mentioned in your Last Will and Testament.

Your children will have a share on your Spanish properties by virtue of the probate of your foreign will in Spain, of course, if they do not wish to claim their Spanish legal share of the Inheritance, they can, renounce their right in front of a Spanish Notary, and the estate will then be shared amongst whomever you may have designated in your Last Will. (This institution is known in Spain as the Legitimate: portion of inheritance reserved by Law (especially Napoleonic Law) for spouse and children or, failing these, to descendant and ascendant relations)

British owners (country with a different Law System: Common Law) should also note that, although Spanish Law states that British Law applies in the event of your death, British Law states that it is the Law in the country where the asset is situated, i.e. Spain, which determines the legal heirs.

To hasten the international private law procedure and bureaucracy after death it is, therefore, advisable to prepare a Spanish Will relating to their properties in Spain. This can easily be prepared for you by your lawyer. Once your decision has legal form, you will have to testate before the Notary (who gives faith of your identity, the authenticity of your will, and your capacity to testate…). The approximate costs of this legal document are 60 to 80 euros for a simple one.

If you have properties in more than one country, is advisable to have wills in each country in order to avoid complicated translations, certifications and procedures for your family after your death. Obviously, it is much simpler to keep the Spanish estate separate from any other assets and to rely on a local professional to handle the formalities.

You can also make a secret will and have its envelope sealed and notarised. These also can be registered in Madrid.

Should someone in your family die without, to your knowledge, leaving a will, you can check with the "Registro Central de Actos de Última Voluntad" – where you can find out if there is a will, if more than one, and which was the last ( valid) one and the name of the Notary and Notary Office in Spain where it is.
Handwritten wills are not advisable as they must be certified as authentic before they can be executed. Spanish inheritance tax accrues six months after death. After this date penalties are incurred.

Unlike in Britain, there is no exemption from inheritance tax between husband and wife. A tax form must be completed and the taxes paid. In Spain it is the heir who is taxed and not the estate. Tax will be calculated on the relationship of the heir to the deceased, the amount of the inheritance he/she receives and existing wealth.

All assets will be taxed bank accounts, property, cars, golf shares etc. Property will usually be valued at the valor catastral the value as calculated by the Town Hall, or rateable value.




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10 secrets every spanish property buyer should know
10 Secrets Every Spanish Property Buyer Should Know
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