What are the current EU succession rules

Since 2015, the EU succession rules are contained in Regulation (EU) No 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012.

Do EU succession regulations apply in the UK?

The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark do not participate in the EU succession law. This means that if you are not resident in an EU country, the regulation does not affect you. However, if you are resident in one of the EEA countries, even if your nationality is not from that country, the regulation will apply. Besides, if you have properties in Spain, you can expect the EU regulation to affect you in some way and thus you will be affected by Spanish probate matters.

How do you know whether it applies? Article 21 states:

Unless otherwise provided for in this Regulation, the law applicable to the succession as a whole shall be the law of the State in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death.”

But in some cases matters are not so strict, and there can be flexibility with the regulation. The second part article 21, allows for regulation by other State law when the deceased “was manifestly more closely connected” with that other  state.

That is why, if you feel that the current regulation of the state where the deceased has his or her residence is not beneficial for you, in some cases you may seek to demonstrate the aforementioned close connections.


Call us and let us know your situation so we can give you an accurate answer.

Does it make any difference?

UK regulations state that the laws which apply are the ones where the real estate is located Following that, someone with property in the UK and Spain should follow the regulations of each country for each property. However, in some cases Spanish authorities seem to think that, under EU succession rules, only one regulation should apply. With this in mind, it seems that an expat who has died in Spain without being an EEA resident may have significant problems during the Spanish probate process since neither of the two countries would grant the inheritance. Nowadays, it is not very clear how to solve this, though it seems Spanish authorities will accept the will of UK testators made in Spain only for their Spanish property.

Against this background, whether you are an EEA resident or not, making a will in Spain with the help of an expert in Spanish and UK regulations is highly recommended. We can discuss your personal situation, your worries, and help you to take the required steps so that your will is respected when the time comes.

Does this affect taxes

When it comes to money, states are much less open to allow others to govern. As a result, if you have property in Spain, you will more than likely need to pay Spanish succession taxes, for which you only have 6 months after the death occurs.

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