Spanish Wills

Do you have property in Spain? Making a Spanish will is the best way to get everything ready for an easy inheritance. You can make a will solely about your Spanish property and keep your current will untouched. Call us now to get more information!

Is making a Spanish will recommended?

The answer is definitely yes. Making a will in Spain is quite straight forward, not very costly, and its benefits are great. Spanish inheritance rules are not easy. Inheritance distribution is regulated and does not allow you to freely leave your inheritance to anyone you want. On one hand, the regulations require a set proportion of the inheritance to go to children or other descendants. On the other hand, the widow does not have the right to inherit, but may have a right to use property (a usufruct, generally known as a life interest in English terms). Making a will is the only solution to leave all these matters clearly solved.

The best and most secure way to make a will in Spain is to have a notary write it for you. This process consists of explaining to the notary how you want to distribute your property after your death so that he or she can write the document for you. This is called an open will (testamento abierto) and is useful because, thanks to the notary, you can be sure that your will complies with the Spanish regulations. Note that it is called an “open” will because the notary knows about it, but it is not seen by other people.

There are two other kinds of wills in Spain: a closed will (testamento cerrado) and holographic will (testamento olográfico). A closed will is one that you give to the notary, but the notary is not able to see it. This comes with the problem that, unless you make a big effort to learn about Spanish regulations, it is very likely that it will have legal issues. The holographic will is one made written by hand. You cannot do it on a computer or any kind of machine and it has to be free of amendments/crossing outs (so you will want to write a draft first). This is the type of Spanish will that usually brings more problems, because it is commonly lost and, once found, heirs need to prove its authenticity.

Do my heirs need to do anything before I can mention them in my Spanish will?

No. They will need to get a NIE in order to inherit in Spain, but they do not have to do anything before you can mention them in your will. You can do it secretly and without bothering anyone.

What do I do with the will after it is complete?

If you hand in your will to a Spanish notary, they will send your will to the Central Registry for Wills, and your heirs will be able to obtain a certificate when the time comes. Do not worry, because this does not mean that anyone can pry into your will. In order to qualify to ask for this certificate, the person needs to appear in the will as a beneficiary or as an executor.

What happens if I do not make a will?

The main result is that your heir’s life will be much more difficult throughout the inheritance process. Moreover, extending this process is not a good idea, because your beneficiaries have only six months to pay the inheritance tax from the date of the death. It is possible to ask for an extension of this deadline, but even with that the situation usually becomes a little stressful.

If there is no will, it is also possible that some of your beloved relatives will not receive anything if they do not fall into the category of heirs stated by the law. In some cases, depending on where you and your heirs have your residency status, you can avoid following Spanish inheritance regulations related to property distribution, but you will not be able to avoid paying the taxes. Confusing? Just call us to get more information!

That is why, taking into consideration the little effort it requires and all the problems it solves, making a will in Spain is usually a very intelligent decision.

What if I already have a will here?

It is not a problem if you already have an English will – it is still recommended that you make a Spanish will. Alert your notary, and he can make sure to write your Spanish will in a compatible way with the current one. As long as the two wills do not say opposite things, Spanish regulations allow you to make a will only for your property in Spain.

Call us now and let us help you with this! Everything will be completed quickly, and your will can be there to give you peace of mind for the rest of your life!

12th November 2018
//Spanish Probate Matters