1. About the
necessity to make a Spanish Will
would like- if we may- to take this opportunity to kindly give you some useful
recommendations regarding Spanish Wills. We have indeed detected that this
issue is still creating some confusion among our new clients.
you already made a Will, we have considered useful to send you this report as
well, just in case you or your family might need it one day.
the first place, we cannot sufficiently stress the point about importance for
anyone who owns a property in Spain, to make a Spanish will.
you might probably remember, a Regulation was passed in 2012 (REGULATION (EU)
No 650/2012), allowing EU citizens to leave their Spanish property according to
their own national law, instead of the law of their country of residence. It
was required since then to make a Spanish Will in which you state that you wish
to leave your property according to UK law and that the Will only applies to
your Spanish assets. This law came into being in Spain in 2015, meaning that
all non-Spanish owners of properties in Spain (residents or non-residents),
should make a Spanish Will ASAP.
fact, having a property in Spain without making a Will can be a very risky and
ultimately a costly decision for the legal heirs.
because without a Will, inheritance expenses can be prohibitively high (in
Probate or Grant of letters of Administration’s costs, plus swore translations
and compulsory legalization of documents, legal fees, etc).
beneficiaries will face a lengthy and stressful Spanish legal process to claim
their Spanish inheritance, for example in cases where it is necessary to apply
for certificates to non-EU countries. On the contrary, a standard inheritance
procedure where the testator has made a Spanish Will is relatively quick and
straightforward. (it can just take around 2-3 months).
because if someone dies without making his or her wishes clear in a Spanish
Will, there is a possibility that the Spanish rules on intestacy might apply.
Spanish intestate Law differs greatly from UK Inheritance Rules. Whereas the UK
law permits individuals, within reason, to leave their assets to whom they
choose, the Spanish law imposes strict rules as to inheritance by family
This is particularly
appropriate in situations where there has been more than one marriage and
several children from different marriages. According to the Spanish Rules of
intestacy, all children (irrespective of the marriage), would have a
preferential equal entitlement to claim their own share.
if someone plans to leave the Spanish property and assets to his or her legal
heirs without wishing for them to suffer delay and escalating costs, then it is
strongly advisable to make a Will in Spain before passing away.
the other hand, remember that when making several Wills in different
jurisdictions, you can have for example an UK Will that might cover your UK
interests and your Spanish Will that will cover only your Spanish interests.
However, bear in mind that the Wills must be clear on which assets each Will
pertains to cover as well as the appointed beneficiaries. Moreover, it is
essential to mention clearly that the scope of the Spanish Will must include
any present or future properties or assets, located in Spain only. Otherwise,
the Wills could be accidentally invalidated and as a result, the testator’s
actual wishes completely overridden.
2. Useful tips and
practical recommendations once that the Spanish will is signed. The necessity to inform the next of kin
lot of people believe it’s too difficult or macabre to think about, much less
plan for, one’s own death. But confusion, exhaustion, and terror are the norm
in the wake of enormous loss. Planning ahead helps reduce the family’s stress
when they’re already in their own personal hell.
fact, we have detected an increasing number of people (usually family
relatives) who contact us when they find out that their loved ones have passed
away in Spain.
many of these cases, our clients are totally unaware of whether the deceased
made a Spanish Will or not. For example, they usually come to our offices
without having any clue also, about the number and specific location of the
assets and properties owned by the testator.
situation of uncertainty frequently leads to a lot of stress and delay, which
finally results in escalating costs and significant inconvenience derived from
having to request for a lot of additional certificates from the Spanish
Authorities. The problem is that these certificates are not easy to obtain, for
example bank account’s details from the banks, etc
in order to prevent this unpleasant situation from happening, it is crucial
that you carefully follow these very important instructions very carefully.
to ask yourself the following question; If someone had to suddenly take over
your whole life, what do they need to know?
1º.- Your Last Will and
strongly recommend that you keep a hard copy of your Spanish Will and also in
PDF format. You should also update your Spanish Will, such that your current
Will might no longer reflect your actual wishes or if your personal situation
might have varied substantially. For instance, getting married, divorce, having
new children, etc.
if you change your passport number or your address, you will not need to change
the Will. Although in this case, it is strongly advisable that you might
contact us in order to give us your new personal details. (new address,
passport nº, etc).
2º.- Lists of accounts,
important contacts, assets and debts
keep all your paperwork in order and let also your beneficiaries know where it
is kept. This includes title deed, local vehicle tax payments, property rates
payments evidence, title deeds, mortgage contracts and details of joint bank
that end, we strongly advise that you also give your beneficiaries a copy of
the title deed, together with a comprehensive list or inventory of all your
assets located in Spain.
list of all your credit cards, checking and savings accounts, including where
they’re held and branch information if necessary. You can leave out the account
numbers if you have privacy concerns; what you’re really doing is making a road
map for whoever will be handling your affairs. Make sure someone knows where
the keys of the property and car are.
any student loans, credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, etc.
forget your rent, utilities, subscriptions, child support, memberships, and
donations that auto-renew. List every single thing that bills out of your
account monthly, quarterly, annually.
do not forget writing in a letter the passwords of social networks (Facebook or
similar). Seal all this information in an envelope and keep with the other
3º.- Life insurance
should have life insurance if you have any outstanding debts or dependents. (
mortgage, etc). Ask the bank for a copy of this essential document. Some
unscrupulous Banks might fraudulently refuse applying the policy on the
mortgage, in order to force the legal heir to keep paying the full mortgage’s
amount ( we have dealt with this situation in the recent past).
If you have no major debt and no dependents, you could skip the life insurance
part, but keep in mind that life insurance beneficiaries can also be parents or
other relatives, all of whom could probably use the money—especially if they
are anticipating support in their retirement years and/or paying for the cost
of your funeral.
4º.- Funeral preparations
you are living abroad, it is always advisable to hire a funeral insurance.
Otherwise, your relatives will have to pay for it, which is very expensive in
Spain. For example, if you want a burial or cremation and where you want your
remains to go. (Especially if you come from a large family or if there are any
religious or cultural differences to consider).
5º.- Solicitor’s details
do not forget to provide your next of kin or beneficiaries, with our
professional contact’s details, in order to remove huge delays (and increased
tax liabilities later on). That would allow us to provide your beneficiaries an
immediate friendly and effective help and advice, when most needed.
the Spanish will is notarized and register at the Last Will Registry in Madrid,
– for our client’s peace of mind, – a duly simple copy of the will is always
safely and confidentially kept in secure storage in our premises together with
an electronic copy of the will in PDF format, available to our clients at any
6º.- Final note
all the information somewhere secure (originals and copies), both in Spain and
in your home country, and make sure your legal beneficiaries know where this
less mess you leave for someone to clean up, the less you’ll complicate the
grief for people who love you.
sum up, we fully realize that owning a Spanish property can lead to uncertainty
about your foreign obligations. We highly recommend that you plan well ahead
before or immediately after you buy the property, to ensure you have both a
foreign Will and a Spanish Will.
Will is one of the most important documents you will sign in your lifetime,
failing to take expert professional advice can result in mistakes and missed
opportunities to save tax which, in the long run, can prove to be extremely
costly and upsetting for families and loved ones.
conclusion, it is essential that appropriate expert trusting professional
advice is obtained in making sure that Spanish Wills are designed
appropriately, to provide the basis for the most convenient, efficient and
straightforward succession process possible in the circumstances. This means
avoiding inconsistencies or conflicts in the use of language, (for instance,
the consequences of a poor-quality translation), the dangers of possible mutual
incompatibility of Wills; and confusion over succession issues and taxation
BZN Lex, we are proficient with the wording required. Therefore, should you
need to make a new Will or just update your existing one, please do not
hesitate to contact us. You would just need provide us with your details, tell
us to whom you wish to leave your property and we will draw up or update your
Spanish Will for a very reduced and competitive fee.
in the unfortunate event of demise, we are experts in dealing with all kind of
complex inheritance procedures. We will be glad to inform you accurately about
the legal and financial aspects of the process (i.e. inheritance tax
We hope this preliminary information is useful for you. Should have any question or enquiry about this or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to clarify to you.
you very much for your attention, and we look forward to helping you.
ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation
Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor.