Frequently asked questions about Spanish Inheritance and Successions Law
What is a probate?
Probate is a Spanish legal process that deals with succession after someone is confirmed dead. When someone dies, there’s a succession law that permits another individual to assume control of the deceased properties, pay outstanding debts, and distribute what is left to people entitled to it. This process practically involves verifying that the deceased’s Will is valid, identifying the person’s properties, having it appraised, paying taxes and debts, and allocating the properties with guidance to the state law or Will.
I prepared a will in another country. Do I also need a Spanish will?
Theoretically, a Will written in your home country covers your assets worldwide. You should also know that making a Will in Spain makes the whole legal process more straightforward for your beneficiaries in the future. However, failure to apply a Will into law when you die, will attract more costs and take time. Your heirs will need to involve the foreign office, legal representative, and official translator before the succession and inheritance process will start.
Are there strict rules about succession and inheritance in Spain?
Yes, there are. On the other hand, these laws only apply to Spanish citizens or foreigners who did not choose their national laws in their wills and permanently residing in Spain. Your nationality governs the legal procedure to follow. Take the UK law, for instance, here it permits you to choose the benefactor that you want to inherit your assets. As a national of Spain, the process is quite different.
Do I need a notary in Spain?
Yes. You need a notary judgement for your Spanish Will to be legitimate in Spain. Your Will has to be signed by the public notary, and you will need the services of a local translator to facilitate this process.
Can I personally make my own Spanish will?
Hypothetically, Yes. Even though you will still need to arrange for signing at the public notary office, you should also be aware that the notary office will only advise you on legal issues and not on other issue that may arise in the future. That is why you need the services of a legal consultant to offer firsthand information and advice about inheritance law, taxation, or possible complications of any procedure you wish to carry out.
I don’t want to make a Spanish will, won’t my assets simply go to my close relatives?
Assets inheritance or transfer when someone dies is not automatic, as stated by Spanish succession law. Whoever is the benefactor to inherit the assets has to pay inheritance tax in advance for deed to be handed over. There are events that come into play, including legalizing, transfer, and interpreting a number of documents. Besides, certificates have to be collected and given to the Spanish notary for verification before the Title Deed can be given to the benefactor.
Can a Spanish will decrease the amount of tax my close relative will have to pay?
Similarly, as with most taxes, there are legal ways one can apply to reduce the expanse to pay. But you need to deliberate your plans with a professional that understands the Spanish tax system for proper guidance. For instance, who you pick as your successor can affect how much tax they need to pay. Correspondingly, if your successor is below 21 and a close next of kin, they will pay a smaller fee. The more intimate the inheritor you decide to inherit your proprieties, the less overall inheritance tax to be paid. Every successor has an allowance; the more successors featured in the Will, the higher the collective allowance.
Is there a deadline given for paying inheritance tax in spain?
Yes. The deadline is six months from the confirmed date of death.
What exactly is the right of accrual and representation?
When making a Spanish Will, you can either choose to Right of Representation or Right of Accrual for your beneficiaries. Your choice determines what happens to any property you leave behind. When you have several heirs, the Right of Accrual explains that any property you transfer to a specific inheritor will be added to the share of the other beneficiaries if something bad happens to one of the inheritors. For instance, if you are bequeathing your assets to three close relatives and one happens to die before he/she was able to inherit, that portion might be divided between the remaining two beneficiaries. Alternatively, you can decide to opt for the Right of Representation; this means that the children of your intended Will beneficiary will be qualified to inherit as a substitute.
It’s undoubtedly not a straight forward process, which is why Spain Desk provides an inheritance law expert for firsthand information and guidance to make your Spanish Will in good time.