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Making a Spanish will

Because the English and Spanish succession systems are different, when a British citizen  dies, things can become complicated; especially if the deceased owns properties in England and Spain.

What does the law say?

The European Succession Regulation EU650/2012 (also known as “Brussels IV”) provides guidance on which law applies when governing a cross-border inheritance , including British citizens, should they die in Spain and have assets in Spain.  As a rule, the applicable law is the law of the state in which the deceased was “habitually resident” at the time of their death.

Why this is important

Spanish succession law restricts the freedom of individuals to leave their assets to anyone they choose. Instead, the law in Spain requires a parent to leave two-thirds of their estate to their children, even by-passing their spouse. Furthermore, of the rest of the estate, only a third can be freely disposed of.

Succession planning for British citizens

Under the EU Succession Regulation, an individual can opt to apply the law of their nationality to all their assets. However, this must be done through a statement in their will.

If they do not have a valid will which states that they have chosen UK law to apply on their death, any estate will be distributed according to Spanish law.

For complete peace of mind, every British adult with assets in Spain, whatever their circumstances, should have a professionally prepared Spanish will. This way they can decide who the beneficiaries of their estate will be.

When buying a property in Spain, British citizens must also create or update their Spanish wills to state that they want British law to be applicable should they die.

Drawing up a Spanish will saves money and hassle

British citizens with assets in Spain should also create a Spanish will if they want to make the probate process quicker.

A Spanish will can be executed before a Spanish notary in the UK. However, if there is no Spanish will, beneficiaries have to wait until the Grant of Probate is supplied, is translated into Spanish, and apostilled.

What’s more, all the relevant documents (death certificate, will, etc.) may need to be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator. Additionally, a Certificado de Ley (certificate of legal compliance) may be necessary to explain the inheritance procedure in a foreign country.

Having a professionally drafted Spanish will avoids bureaucracy, streamlines the entire process, and avoids unnecessary expenses.

Giving you and your clients complete peace of mind, we provide an expert Spanish will writing service, with a full English translation. We also make sure that your clients’ Spanish wills are notarised and stored safely at no extra charge.

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.