¿DO I NEED A WILL IN SPAIN?
Updated: Apr 3, 2022
It is advised to write and register a wills in Spain if you want your property to be disposed of according to your wishes, and in line with youe own country’s laws. While writing a will in Spain is not essential, Spanish succession law comes into effect without a valid legal testament. This is generally considered a restrictive law, since it requires that most of the estate be left to specific relatives.
A Spanish Will helps to document all your different assets within the country’s borders, thus making bequests and legacies easier for your heirs.
By making aSpanish will,you will be absolutely certain that your wishes will be carried out without confusion or error upon your death. This is because when you make a Spanish will you sign it before a Notary in Spain, or before a Notary Public in any other country.
The danger of not making a Spanish will and relying on a will made according to the laws of another jurisdiction, is that the person who is charged with the administration of your Spanish estate will either have to know what he/she is doing in terms of the administration of a cross-border estate, or will have to engage someone who is suitably qualified here again i have Fran @ https://afconsulting.es/ who is more than qualified to offer advice and guideence and as we work together, i can help start the proecess before we arrange a meeting with Fran to discuss further.
Inheritance law in Spain
Spanish inheritance legislation requires you to pass on your assets to your spouse and your children. The Law of Obligatory Heirs reserves 50% of all joint property for your spouse.
The remainder of the estate is divisible into three equal parts. One third is equally divided among any surviving children (natural or adopted). Another one-third also goes to any surviving children but may be distributed equally or unequally according to instructions in a will. The spouse retains a life interest (usufruct) in this part of the estate and the children do not inherit until the spouse dies.
Finally, you can dispose of the third portion freely in a will.
It is particularly advisable to make a Spanish will if you have remarried and have stepchildren, or have other family members you want to include that are less protected by Spanish succession law.
The other reason that Spanish wills are important is to take full advantage of the European Succession Regulation (650/2012), widely known as Brussels IV, which came into force on 17 August 2015. Brussels IV provides that, subject to a will stating to the contrary, the law that applies to one’s estate is the law of one’s habitual residence. So, if you live in England and own property in Spain when you die, English law will apply to your estate. I use English law as an example, because according to English law one has freedom of testamentary disposition; you can leave your assets to whomever you wish. However, if by the time you die you are living in Spain then, unless you have made a clear statement to the contrary, Spanish law will apply to your estate.
What happens to your Spanish assets if when you die you have not made a will?
When a person dies without a will this means that the estate is “intestate”. What this means is that the assets pass according to a fixed set of rules, called the intestacy rules, whereas if there is a will then the assets pass according to the wishes of the person who has passed away as set out in their will.
As always please feel free to get intouch and discuss @Expay
With Thanks to Solicitors in spain, AFconsulting.es