Following the death of someone who owned assets in Spain it is important to establish whether or not they left a will. It may be that they left a will in their country of nationality, or a Spanish Will, or wills made according to the law of more than two countries.
As with all legal matters in Spain, it is vital that you take expert independent Spanish legal advice at an early stage.
Inheritance in Spain – Stage One
To establish whether a will was made in Spain a search must be made of the Spanish general register of last wills.
They will issue a document called a “Certificate of Last Will” which provides confirmation of any Spanish will signed by the deceased, and details of the Notary before whom it was signed and the date on which it was signed. If you are named in the will you can apply for a copy.
The content of the will, whether a Spanish will or not, determines who will benefit from the estate and the identity of any Executor.
If the deceased left both a Spanish will and one or more other wills, it may not be immediately clear which will applies to the Spanish estate. A specialist Spanish lawyer will be able to advise you.
Inheritance in Spain – Stage Two
To administer the Spanish estate you will need to identify and value the assets, including land and buidlings, funds in bank accounts, shares, vehicles, etc.
When the value of the assets in Spain has been established, any liability to Spanish inheritance tax can be calculated.
Inheritance in Spain – Stage Three
The acceptance of inheritance can be prepared and signed. A document is prepared in which all of the assets of the estate in Spain are set out, together with a copy of the will and any other necessary supporting documentation. This document is then signed in the presence of a Notary in Spain.
Once the acceptance of inheritance documentation has been signed, any inheritance tax becomes payable within 30 days.
(Any Spanish inheritance tax due must be paid either within six months of death, or within 12 months if an extension is obtained, and then it can be deferred over a period of time.)
To find out more about Spanish inheritance tax see E&G Solicitors in Spain.
Once the inheritance tax has been paid the tax agency must stamp the documentation and then it will be possible for the Spanish banks to release funds and for the beneficiaries to be registered as the new owners of the property.
Inheritance in Spain – Stage Four
If you are planning to sell the property once the acceptance of inheritance has been completed please note that it will not be possible to register a sale of the property until the inheritance has been registered. Hence, it is best to avoid marketing the property for sale too early.