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The importante of making a Spanish Will

Published 08/07/2009

The importante of making a Spanish Will

Spanish Wills are considered by many as not important due to having one in their home country, however, having dealt with inheritances in Spain for many years, we highly recommend signing a Spanish Will, even if just for your peace of mind.

Often we are asked if it is strictly necessary to sign a Spanish Will, given the fact that often your home country Will covers your world-wide assets or can be drafted to mention specific assets in another country. Based on our experience of dealing with inheritance cases concerning Spanish assets we strongly recommend that you sign a Spanish Will. In exceptional circumstances it may be advised to just mention the Spanish assets in the home country Will but this only occurs when you wish to include a very specific and complicated clause that could not be practically administered under Spanish Law.

The drafting of a Spanish Will is influenced by your own nationality and the Law of Succession in your own country. The practical formalities follow Spanish law, such as the preparation of the document in two languages, your own language and Spanish, and the signing of the Will before the Notary Public.

If you are permanently residing in Spain it is particularly relevant to make a Will. It could be because you have not made a Will in your own country or simply that all your assets are in Spain. In both of these cases the courts and authorities in your home country consider that you are outside of their jurisdiction in terms of dealing with your inheritance. The Spanish Inheritance Law is the one that applies but only in the formal aspects and procedure. The assignation of your assets is governed and dealt with in accordance with your own national Law of Succession.

In Spain the Notaries and other authorities involved in the inheritance procedure are obviously fully conversant with Spanish law but it is impossible for them to know all the legal systems of every other country in the world. In the absence of a Spanish Will no single individual can be responsible for stating who must inherit and therefore an official document is required from the authorities in your home country, clearly stating who, according to your particular national law, is allowed to inherit.

Sometimes a vicious circle is created in legal terms between attempting to obtain the aforementioned document and getting it recognised and accepted by the Spanish Notary. This situation creates more emotional pressure for the potential inheritor(s) and an increase in legal expenses.

Whether there is a Spanish Will or not the Spanish inheritance procedure must be followed and the corresponding inheritance taxes paid in Spain but this is greatly simplified if there is a Spanish Will, duly signed and registered.

If you have assets in Spain and you still havent signed Spanish Will please contact us and we will advise on how it should be drafted according to the basic terms of your National Law of Succession and your personal considerations.


Marina Lorente

Marina Lorente

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