A holographic Will is a Will that has been handwritten by the grantor. In Spain, the most common way to make a Will is making it before a public notary, but holographic Wills are absolutely legal.
The only, but significant, problem with a holographic Will is that its validity has to be proved. Let’s see how:
The holographic Wills are regulated by the articles 688 to 693 of the Código Civil (Civil Code).
In order to be valid, the grantor has to handwrite and sign the full Will. In case there are any corrections or cross outs, they have to be validated by the signature of the grantor.
As a foreigner, you have the right to make a holographic Will in your own language, so it is perfectly legal if you do it in English.
It is very important that you are aware that your heirs will need to go to a public notary to make a notarization. Therefore, you should think twice if it would not be better to go to the notary straight away, so you are sure the will is made with all the legal requirements.
Basically, your will will go through a notary anyway. If you do it in the beginning, you will be sure it is valid. If your heirs do it once you are dead, the will could have an issue, not be legal, and thus a waste of time.
When you make a Will before a notary, the notary keep it. But when you do it holographically, you have to decide who will keep it until it is needed. This is a great responsibility for the person chosen because they will have to hand your Will in within the next 10 days since they learn that you died. If they do not do it, they will be responsible for the claims for compensations of other heirs. This can generate many troubles for the person if something happens that makes it impossible for them to hand in the Will.
In case the person keeping the Will cannot be contacted and was not aware of the death, the holographic Will will be valid for five years. Do not get confused about this. If you are keeping the Will, from the very moment you are aware the person has died, you have to hand the will in to a notary. If you are not aware, then the Will will be valid up to five years.
Once the Will is in the notary’s hands, they will try to check that it is legit. For that, they will contact the other heirs and family members, and, if needed, they can even contract to a calligraphic expert.
As a conclusion, we recommend making a Will before a notary. It is much easier to end up with a legal Will. If you want help making a Will legal in Spain, contact us here.