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Spanish Wills

Spanish Wills

2. Why You Should Make A Spanish Will

When you take the decision to buy a property in Spain you are far more likely to be concerned about your future enjoyment of the property than what is likely to occur upon your death.

For this reason you have to make the necessary provisions to ensure that family and other loved ones will eventually benefit.

If you own a property in Spain it is advisable but not essential that you make a Spanish Will. If you trust only in your English Will or the laws of intestacy (if there is no English Will) then you will find there will be increased bureaucracy and administration costs because the relevant documents for your inheritance will need to be translated to the spanish language and notarised with a special stamp called Apostille de la Hague, and also you need present all these documents in the U.K. Foreign Office. This process is very expensive, complicated and slow.

Making a Spanish Will is a sensible decision and the most popular way is the OPEN WILL to be executed before a Spanish Notary. It is advisable to employ the services of a Spanish lawyer in order to prepare your Spanish Will in accordance with your instructions.

The OPEN WILL is a document signed in front of the Spanish Notary, reciting those members of your family and friends who you wish to see benefit from your estate.

The Spanish Notary, keeps the original document in his files (protocolo del Notario) and he will send a notification of the will to the CENTRAL REGISTRY OF SPANISH WILLS (Registro Central de Última Voluntad) located in Madrid.

The Notary may request the presence of 2 witnesses, who can also be required in case the testator is blind or illiterate.

As a foreign national the Spanish civil code allows you to leave your Spanish assets in accordance with the national law of your country of origin.

An English person would not therefore be obliged to leave a proportion of his estate to members of his family as is required of a Spaniard. The most important points to bear in mind in connection with Spanish OPEN WILLS:

  1. The Spanish will is individual; each person has to sign a Spanish Will.
  2. You need to make a Spanish Will disposing of your Spanish property in order to avoid time-consuming and expensive legal problems for your heirs. You can make a separate will, for example in U.K.disposing of assets outside of Spain and your Spanish will.
  3. As a foreigner, you will find that Spanish authorities do not oblige you to follow the Spanish law of compulsory heirs, in which you must leave two-thirds of your estate to your children (LA LEGITIMA). You can leave your estate to whomever you choose, but you will be subject to Spanish inheritance tax, which is high when property is left to non-relatives


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