International inheritance and wills specialists
Inheritance lawyers and wills services
Wills & Inheritance law in Spain
Do you need a Spanish Will?
The answer to this is most definitely yes. It is especially important for all property owners to make a will, but others need to consider their position as well.
In the UK if you do not make a last will, then the law has special rules (intestate) that will determine the distribution of your assets. These rules could mean that your assets are distributed in a very different way from how you would have liked, and your estate will have to go through the probate procedure.
In Spain, the situation is the same, with an additional factor. Your heirs will have to deal with a foreign language and a different legal system, including the need for each, obtains an NIE, going through all of the legal paperwork, and paying Inheritance Taxes depending on the personal circumstances (fiscal resident, non-resident, the value of the assets, etc…).
All the more reason to leave everything as well organised as possible.
Some people include their Spanish assets in their English will. This is legally possible, but your English will have to be executed in Spain once you went through probate in the UK, so it could be legalized in Spain. The inconvenience of this situation is that it is a long and costly procedure.
We live in a fast-changing world, where there are so many options available to us, making research and knowledge an important foundation for our future.
According to a census there are more than 100 different Nationalities living in the province of Alicante. This has made it possible for us to specialise in International Inheritance Law for over 20 years.
Wills and Inheritance many years ago used to be a subject we didn’t like to think or talk about, however in the 21st century it has become an important part for planning our future and the one of our loved ones, helping for an effective bureaucracy. For everyone’s peace of mind, we recommend seeking professional legal advice, due to the legal complexities involved in probate procedures under the International Inheritance Law.
Our Law Firm has a team of highly qualified specialists in International Inheritance Law, who are able to assist you with the complex management of your inheritance issues and the distribution of assets, at the time and age that you decide, in any given area of the Valencian Community and throughout Spain.
We will help you write your WILL, both in Spanish and your native language; accompany you to have it signed in front of the Notary Public; explain and advise how to arrange your INHERITANCE or DONATION, accept property or assets upon death or whilst alive, find assets and insurances that were not known about, and settle the corresponding taxes.
If you’re asking yourself whether you need a will, the answer is most definitely yes. It is especially important if you have property or any other assets, however, making a will should be considered in every situation.
Should you not make a will in your home country, then the law has special rules (intestate) which will determine the distribution of your assets. These rules could mean that your assets will be distributed in a very different way from how you would have liked, and will have to go through the probate procedure (in both countries).
In Spain, the situation is the same (the rules of the Spanish Inheritance Law) with an additional factor: Your heirs will have to deal with a foreign language and a different legal system, including the need for each heir to obtain a NIE. The heirs will need to go through all of the legal paperwork and pay inheritance tax, depending on the personal circumstances (fiscal resident, non-resident, the value of the assets, etc.).
If in your home country you have free disposal of assets (UK, USA, etc.) and are resident in Spain, but have never made a Spanish will, the legal consequences of passing away would be that your assets will be regulated under Spanish law (Inheritance Law). This is why it is important to have a will in Spain (even with the option of signing an International will, covering worldwide assets), making sure you choose the applicable law of your home country, if beneficial in your case.
What is our best advice?
Our advice on the subject is to have either two separate wills, one in the U.K. for your English assets and one in Spain for your Spanish assets or alternatively, you can make an international last will in Spain that covers worldwide assets.
Drawing up a last will in Spain does not take long and is not expensive, and will definitely save your heirs a lot of time, problems and money. Do not forget about the tax implications of it (inheritance tax planning) which will vary depending of several issues: residency of the deceased and heirs, inheritance value and number of properties to inherit, number of heirs and relationship within the family, place of residence, etc…
What is the procedure? The service that we provide
We are able to offer you tips and advice on making your last will and testament. We will provide you with a standard will form, that is then adapted to your specific situation. Subsequently we will draw up a rough draft and on your agreement, we will organise an appointment at the Public Notary to sign the final document, which will make it public.
The information is sent to the Central Registry in Madrid, which will vary if you change your will again and make it public. This service is different to the UK, but has obvious benefits for all concerned.
If you would like to change your English will while you are in Spain, and you do not want to travel back to the UK for just this purpose, our recommendation is to draw up an international will which will be valid in Spain and in the UK. The will has to be drawn up in English and Spanish and will mention that it covers worldwide assets.
What information would we as executors need to process an inheritance?
Once the executor has accepted the position, theyt must review the whole scenario and obtain the following non-exhaustive documents:
- Death certificate of the deceased. If the death certificate is from overseas, it must be apostilled and translated into Spanish.
- Certificate of last will and testament.
- Certified true copy of the last will (it may sometimes be useful to ask for copies of previous wills (e.g. to interpret certain points of the previous will)
- Bank certificates of the deceased’s financial position. If applicable, you can and should obtain bank statements of transactions made in the last few months, in order to see the possible outflows of money that may have occurred. In some Autonomous Communities within Spain, tax authorities usually require that these certificates include the largest balance in such accounts in the last year (as a way of detecting whether there have been significant outflows of assets, which should be considered as increase in equity for tax purposes)
- Vehicle documentation in the deceased’s name.
- Number of registered properties owned, fully or partly, by the deceased
- Land registry extracts (known as ‘notas simples’ in Spain) of real estate owned, partially or fully, by the deceased
- If applicable, we will ask for a real estate index of the deceased, to see if they have property elsewhere (from inheritances, relatives, etc…)
- Council tax receipts for all properties (known as IBI in Spain) of the last year
- If the deceased is a unitholder in investment funds or has securities accounts, the net asset value of the securities or unit at the time of death must be determined
- The last personal income tax return of the deceased and, if they paid Wealth Tax, a copy of the last return. These documents are a fundamental source for determining the data that Inland Revenue has of the client, and to know all the possible sources of income and possible elements of the inherited assets.
- Insurance certificates, to see if there could be any compensation payable in connection with the death of the deceased.
- Invoices or receipts for funeral expenses, in order to be able to deduct them from the inheritance tax liability
- If the estate contains holdings or shares in companies, which are not listed, we will request the last accounting documents or certificates of the value of these at the time of death, with exact indication of the number of shares and holdings, series, nominal value, and other circumstances.
Depending on the circumstances of each case, the executor will need the keys to the house, drawers, safe deposit boxes, etc, to prevent any possessions that may be found there from disappearing.
We will also ask you to locate the public deeds of ownership of the various assets, as well as determining whether there are items of value such as jewelry, collectibles or furniture and, depending on the powers available to the accountant, to take precautionary measures, or to urge that such measures be taken by those concerned.
Other possible assets, contracts pending fulfilment, or debts that may arise at any time (guarantees, loans, etc…) will be investigated. If the deceased, as is often the case, had a mortgage or personal loan, you should ask the bank for a certificate of the outstanding balance at the time of death.
In some case, the executor will instruct banks not to charge certain bills and, where appropriate, to terminate supplies and services, as well as to respond to options that may often arise during the period of indivision (cashing in the dividend into new shares or cash, using a liquidity window, liquidating part of some of the funds, etc…).
In addition, all invoices and receipts for the expenses incurred in preparing the partition must be properly preserved, to claim their due reimbursement, as well as all fees accruing to the professionals involved in the partition of the inheritance.
PELLICER & HEREDIA LAWYERS also deals with:
- Registering the property in the Property Registry.
- Performing any kind of action that helps manage the will of the testator or donor.
- Obtaining death certificates and registered wills, which in Spain are required to clarify whether or not there is a last will registered before the notary, and they are also required for the inheritance deed.
- Searching for unaccounted insurance policies, which were unknown of or where there was no evidence that these existed.
- Obtaining apostilled documents with the Hague Apostille 1961.
- Managing the certified translations of any documents when necessary.
- Preparing the declaration of inheritance, before the notary or before the courts.
- Formalising the division and distribution of property and all assets amongst the heirs and mediating between the heirs with extrajudicial matters, proposing appropriate settlement agreements.
- Drawing up, liquidating and paying the inheritance and wealth tax, capital gains and all other charges.
- Inscribing the names in the Property Registry for any property and changes of ownership for deposits, securities, stocks, etc.
Should you need assistance on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
At Pellicer & Heredia, we offer to our clients the possibility of being executors of their Wills and carry out the instructions that they have entrusted to us in detail.