El Corte Inglés Legacy: The Inheritance War in This Spanish Department Store Group

If you have been in a department store in Spain, you have probably been in El Corte Inglés. It is one of the main companies in Spain and the biggest department store group in Europe. It is also a family business.

As it is sadly common with family business, inheritance brings problems. Until his death in 2014, Isidoro Álvarez was the president of the group. He was the nephew of the founder, Ramón Areces. They say that history repeats itself. Again, it was the nephew of the deceased who took the presidency. After Isidoro Álvarez’s death, Dimas Gimeno managed the group until mid 2018.

Blood Is Important. Money Is More Important

Isidoro Álvarez adopted his wife’s two daughters from a previous marriage: Marta and Cristina, who of course were their father’s heirs. Not everyone was happy though. Isidoro’s sister and brother tried to reject Marta and Cristina’s adoption in order to prevent their inheritance rights.

Remember that, in Spain, if the deceased has no living children or parents, the rightful heirs are the deceased’s brothers. While a grantor can leave a share of the legacy to anyone, the law states that 2/3 of the legacy should go to the rightful heirs, and nothing can change that. Thus, the importance of the adoption validation is prominent in terms of heirship rights.

As a result, since 2014 the heirs are fighting in court. The latest news is a court sentence stating that Isidoro’s sister is not legitimated to ask the voidance of the adoption. Only the biological parents of the deceased or his children, no matter if adopted or biological, have such a right.

After 29 years of stability under the presidency of Isidoro, El Corte Inglés has had three different presidents and is now going for the fourth.

The Issue Affects Many People Beyond the Family

When a family business is as big as El Corte Inglés’s, the family’s problems affect many people. Spanish banks, for example, have loaned about 4 billion euros to this department store group and are, of course, worried about its future development – not to mention more than 100,000 workers and the great amount of providers that have El Corte Inglés as their main client.

This is just another example of how convenient it is to make a will. Remember that you can make a will in Spain without affecting your property and will in the UK. We can help you with anything related with Spanish probate. Contact us and get informed!

3rd January 2020
//Spanish Probate Matters