Foreign Will in Spain

Understanding the usage of a foreign will in Spain can be critical for individuals with assets in the country. In this article, we discuss the validity and execution of foreign wills in Spain, as well as some important things to keep in mind.

Definition of a foreign Will in Spain

We define a foreign Will in Spain, as a Will that has been valid in a country other than Spain by a person who is not a Spanish national and that deals with Spanish assets.
For example, a British national who owns a property in Spain and makes a Will in the UK appointing their children as beneficiaries of their Spanish property would be making a foreign Will in Spain.

Do I need a Spanish Will or is a foreign Will sufficient?

It is not obligatory to have a Spanish Will, however, if you have assets in Spain we would strongly recommend that you make a Will in Spain which specifically deals with your Spanish assets. The reason for this is, that your Spanish assets will be subject to Spanish Inheritance Law. This could result in your assets being distributed in a way which you had not anticipated, or which is not in line with your wishes.

Validity of a foreign Will in Spain

In short, Spanish law accepts a foreign Will if it meets the Spanish Inheritance Laws. However, they must be legalized before a Spanish consul (or affixed with an apostille in signatory countries) and translated into Spanish.

Procedure to validate a foreign Will

The procedure that the heirs must go through in order to obtain recognition of a foreign Will in Spain is the following:

  1. The Will needs to be validated to be legal according to the Spanish Inheritance Laws.
  2. The Spanish Consul in your home nation must validate a certified copy of the probate grant.
  3. Once the Will has been legalized, it must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator (authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
  4. The Will needs to be accepted by a Spanish Notary Public, so it can be registered in the Central Wills Registry in Spain.
  5. Sometimes a Spanish probate judge has to give permission for the Will to be executed.

How to execute a Foreign Will in Spain

Once the Will has been accepted and validated in Spain, the next step is to proceed with its execution. In order to do this, the following steps must be taken:

  • All beneficiaries named in the Will must be located and notified of their inheritance.
  • The assets that fall under the inheritance law of the deceased need to be calculated in order for the correct Spanish Inheritance Tax to be paid.
  • When dealing with foreigners to Spain, the heirs will need to open a Spanish bank account in order to deposit the assets of the estate, and also need to obtain an NIE number.

The notary public and Spanish Wills

The notary public plays a vital role when it comes to Spanish Wills. Dealing with a notary public in Spain helps to ensure that the Will is executed as smoothly as possible and also helps to avoid any potential complications that may arise. They will provide services such as

  • Validating that the Will has been correctly executed according to Spanish law.
  • Giving access to assets and debts that belong to the estate.
  • Accepting or denying legal requirements.
  • Drawing up certificates
  • Giving a Power of Attorney to the Inheritance Lawyer

Get assistance from a Spanish Inheritance Lawyer

If you are dealing with a foreign Will in Spain, or have any questions about the process, it is always best to seek professional assistance. Read more about the services our Spanish Inheritance Lawyers offer.

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