Probate can be complicated enough, and an unfamiliar language and legal system can compound any difficulties.
What are the differences between Spanish and UK probate?
Spanish probate law has many differences to the UK. First and foremost, in Spain inheritance is a right and there is the option to refuse a bequest. As such beneficiaries are required to appear before a Spanish notary to state whether or not they accept any inheritance. If they are unable to do this, they would have to appoint a power of attorney – usually a Spanish probate solicitor – to manage the estate on their behalf. If the beneficiary accepts the inheritance, and if land or property is involved, a ‘deed of acceptance’ needs to be prepared and executed in front of a Spanish notary.
Spanish estate administration
As well as dealing with the usual tasks of administering an estate, when dealing with the death of a Spanish resident – or a UK resident with Spanish assets – there are a number of additional steps that are required. However, this can be complicated and can result in extra time and expense at a time when clients are already struggling following the death of a loved one.
What is involved in Spanish probate?
For Spanish probate the following is needed (not an exhaustive list):
- A list of all Spanish assets (property, business, cars, etc.) and the relevant documents and deeds to prove their existence and establish their value
- Bank certificates for all bank accounts stating the funds held in the accounts at the time of death
- A search of the Spanish Will Registry to obtain a copy of the Spanish will
- A copy of the following UK documents:
- Original Death Certificate
- Original Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration
- Copy of the English will
- Passport copies of the executors and beneficiaries
- The signing of the deed of acceptance and all necessary paperwork (either by the heirs or after providing a solicitor with Power of Attorney)
- An application for a NIE number (Identification Number for Foreigners in Spain). All heirs must have an NIE number as it needs to be included in all documents or monetary transactions performed in Spain
- The calculation and payment of all taxes to be paid. This includes inheritance tax and Plusvalia
- Making sure that the beneficiary is registered as the new owner of any property at the Spanish Land Registry
- Ensuring that inheritance tax and Plusvalia is paid. Inheritance Tax on Spanish assets must be paid within six months of the date of death
- Changing the direct debit of the IBI receipt. This is a local tax, levied on ownership and property rights of the holder of a property
- Changing the direct debit of any utilities
- Preparing a Spanish will for the beneficiaries.
Once referred to us we contact your client (free initial telephone conversation) to provide an initial quote and to let them know how we can help. Next, we provide a simple written questionnaire to help identify the list of assets in Spain. This allows you to forget about the Spanish element of probate.
Removing the hassle from your shoulders, we make the process of administering an estate or receiving a Spanish inheritance as stress-free as possible.
To find out more about how we can help you and your clients, contact us and a member of our team will get in touch with you soon.