One of the questions that’s most frequently asked in our offices is – how much Spanish inheritance tax will I have to pay? We receive enquiries every week from the recently bereaved who are not only coming to terms with the death of a close relative but also the fact that inheritance in Spain can be a complicated and costly matter.
Fortunately, our International inheritance department are able to respond quickly given the number of variations there can be when calculating inheritance tax in Spain. We have to know where your property is in Spain, your relationship to the deceased and his/ her resident status in a European country as well as the status and intentions of the inheritors themselves.
The questions don’t stop there. Should we sell the property? When and how do we inform the bank? Will the utility charges continue to be paid? How much will all this cost? We use our years of experience and understanding of Spanish inheritance law to help worried inheritors receive the answers they need.
The cost of the process
Inevitably the cost of inheritance must be discussed at some point. Inheritors are usually particularly anxious to hear that Spanish inheritance tax, if due, must be paid first before property can change hands. This can be a particular worry if the inheritors were hoping to sell the property quickly.
The first step is to provide a cost estimate to the inheritors advising them of the legal fees, external costs (Notary fees, Land Registry etc.) and inheritance tax to pay. When the total cost is itemised we can begin to discuss the different options. Once the cost is spread between family members and allowances are taken into account, the Spanish inheritance tax may not be as steep as they first feared.
Inheritance between partners
It often comes as a surprise for Spanish property owners that when one of a couple dies the property does not automatically transfer to the other and neither does the bank account. The inheritance process has to be officially embarked on, as it would if you were leaving it to a more distant relative. Even a joint bank account requires official closure and half the contents will be frozen until the transfer is complete.
However, there is good news too. Relatives are often relieved to hear that it is possible for Spanish inheritance to be completed without them coming to Spain. Through a power of attorney, arrangements can be made with as little disturbance to the grieving family as possible.
We know that answering your questions and addressing your concerns about Spanish inheritance are of little significance when compared to the emotional impact of bereavement. However, we do pride ourselves on making at least one part of the process just that little bit easier.
If you have experienced a bereavement and need to sort out your inheritance we are offering free consultations with inheritance specialists.