Making a will to clarify how your Spanish properties shall be distributed is the best way to avoid future issues. However, when there is money involved, people’s behaviour is unpredictable, and sometimes siblings that were always nice and generous become an obstacle.
In probate processes in Spain, one of the most common and biggest issues an heir can face is when another heir does not want to admit the inheritance allocation and the process gets blocked.
Sometimes these kinds of blocks happen even when all the heirs except one agree with what is stated in the will. Since 2015 (Ley 15/2015, de 2 de julio, de la Jurisdicción Voluntaria), to avoid the prolongation of this issue, the notary that is managing the probate process can send a notification to the heir saying that, according to the Spanish Civil Code (Código Civil), this heir has 30 days to accept or reject an inheritance. It is important that the notary states in the notification that in case that there is not any answer in such period, the inheritance will be considered as accepted.
After this acceptance, the process can go forward and it should be solved without many issues. In case the heir decides to not accept the inheritance, his part will be distributed among the other heirs or it will go to another third person in case the will has named a substitution heir.
Usually, when someone is creating these problems, it is due to the heir not being happy with the inheritance allocation. In such cases, the heir shall start a proceeding. If this happens, all the heirs can expect a long time until they have a final resolution. In most cases, it is advisable that they try to reach an agreement with the help of the notary, avoiding court.
In short, nowadays blocking an inheritance by not accepting or rejecting it is not very useful since you will just get 30 days to make the decision.
Always keep in mind
Once you become aware that you are an heir in Spain, it is important to start the process promptly so that you have enough time to pay taxes within the legal period.
In some cases, you may need to reject the inheritance. For example, the grantor may have had many debts or the legacy might create a very large amount of taxes to pay. You have the right to do it, and this does not have to harm the rights and interests of the other heirs.