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9. Summary of Spanish inheritance rules

Again we repeat what we wrote at the beginning of this information, that Spanish inheritance rules will be applied only in exceptional cases. If you have a normal family situation and make a will for the inheritance in S pain, they will not be used.

The "legítimas", persons with legal rights in an inheritance in Spain are the children, grandchildren , spouse, parents and grandparents of the deceased. But not all of them have such a right in all cases; some of them are only subsidiary heirs.

Children (and their descendants) have a legal right that represents 2/3 of the inheritance. Half of this (i.e. one third) is unchangeable - "legítima absoluta" - while the testator in his wil l may distribute the other third - "tercio de mejora" - according to his wishes, but only among t he children and their descendants, not anyone else.

Parents have a legal right if the testator has no children or grandchildren. If the testator is not married, the parents have a right to 1/2 of the inheritance. If there is a spouse, the oblig atory part of the parents is only 1/3. If the parents are dead, the grandparents take over the rights. A spouse has in principle only the "life interest" as a legal right. If children exist, the spouse has only the life interest to a 1/3 part, called "tercio de mejora". If there are no children or grandchildren, but parents, the spouse has the life interest of 2/3 of the inheritance What is left of the inheritance after the distribution of the obligatory parts, the testator can freely dispose of in his will. If there is no will, the court decides the distribution of what is left after the obligatory parts.

Children outside wedlock, from previous marriages or adopted children have the same rights as chi ldren of an existing marriage. But the children from the surviving spouse's previous marriage have no inheritance rights. If a child with an obligatory part is dead, his children have the right to take over. A spouse from a previous marriage, where a definite divorce is completed, has no obligatory part in the inheritance. Common law spouses have no inheritance rights under Spanish law.

After the children and grandchildren (first place), parents and grandparents (second place), and spouses (third place), in fourth place come the sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces and thereafter (fifth place) other relatives. Last in the queue is the Spanish state.



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