Spanish succession rules
Spanish succession rules are affected by the fact that Spain’s administration is divided into seventeen autonomous communities (comunidades autónomas). This means that each aspect of the succession rules ‒ civil laws, taxes, regulated fees of public notaries and registrars ‒ may have different regulations that apply to your case. It depends on the region where the deceased person resided. The regions with the biggest differences in comparison with the national standards are Aragón, the Balearic Islands, Cataluña, Galicia, Navarra and the Basque Country.
If you don’t want to get tied up in all the legal nuances that apply to this situation, feel free to call us and our Spanish legal experts will manage everything for you.
Spanish succession rules at the National Level
For the Civil Rights aspect of inheritance, the most general regulation (the national one) is the Third Title of the Civil Code called “de las sucesiones”, which was officially published by the royal decree, Real Decreto de 24 de julio de 1889 por el que se publica el Código Civil. Besides that, you need to apply the relevant tax laws, which at the national level are:
- The Spanish inheritance statute: Ley 29/1987, de 18 de diciembre, del Impuesto sobre Sucesiones y Donaciones.
- Spanish inheritance regulation: Real Decreto 1629/1991, de 8 de noviembre, Reglamento del Impuesto sobre Sucesiones y Donaciones.
Furthermore, you then have the law that transfers the profit of the inheritance tax to the autonomous community (Ley 22/2009, de 18 de diciembre, por la que se regula el sistema de financiación de las Comunidades Autónomas de régimen común y Ciudades con Estatuto de Autonomía y se modifican determinadas normas tributarias.) which for you means that, depending on the region where you are, the physical process of paying can be slightly different.
When Do Spanish succession rules Apply to Your Case?
Notice that Spanish rules about taxes apply always that there are properties in Spain, no matter if the person is resident or not.
What happens with the rules about how to distribute the properties?
Under Regulation (EU) No 650/2012, the regulations that apply in an inheritance case are the ones of the country in which the deceased person had his/her regular residence. In other words, do you or your family member have a Spanish TIE (identification card)? If your answer is yes, you will likely need to follow Spanish regulations.
So that you may have an idea of the effect this may have on the future of your properties, you might want to know that, under Spanish law, the inheritance rights are divided by legal relation. As a result, even if you have a will stating that you want all your properties going to someone – let’s say your son – your husband/wife and other sons you may have will still have the right to claim a significant part as inheritance.
However, the European regulation has an exception that you may want to consider. According to Article 22, a voucher can state the law which will apply to the will. In other words, you can choose between Spanish and UK regulations. In order to do so, you need to get a European Certificate of Succession.
Call us now to talk about your case and we will help you to get the information to decide what is better for your interests.