Spain Explained

New EU legislation affecting your Spanish will

You may already have heard about the changes to inheritance legislation and Spanish wills in Spain. There are important changes taking place that may affect you if you are an EU citizen and a resident here.

New EU inheritance legislation

The Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012 states:

EU citizens habitually residing in Spain (Residents) will be subject to the Spanish succession law, despite their nationality, unless they specifically state in their will the wish for the succession law of their country of origin to apply.

New Call-to-action

This means that if you have a Spanish will it must specifically state that you wish your own country’s inheritance law to apply. If this clause isn’t included then the distribution of your inheritance will automatically revert to Spanish law. If you have no will at all, then Spanish law will also apply.  This does make a difference.

Spanish national inheritance law

According to the Spanish national inheritance law a certain percentage of inheritance must be left to legal beneficiaries such as your spouse and children. This is different to UK and Irish law which allows an individual to leave their inheritance to whoever they wish.

New Call-to-action

If you have a specific request for who you wish your inheritance to be left to then leaving your old Spanish will as it is or having no will at all may mean that your wishes cannot be followed.

Our advice

The new legislation doesn’t come into effect until 17th August 2015. However, we highly recommend that you do change your will if you are a resident in Spain but do not have Spanish nationality.

In order to adapt your documentation to ensure that you can leave your inheritance to those you choose, we have expert staff who can help you.

See all

It might be of your interest...

Leave a comment

90 comments

Mrs Gillian Grillo

30 March, 2014 4:12 pm

The Escatura of our property
The Escatura of our property is in three names. That of my Husband, myself and my Father. We each have a Spanish will bequeathing the property to each other, we wish to ensure that this stays the same. However my Husband has two children from his first marriage and my Father has a Son and an adopted Step Daughter. Please advise how best to amend our Wills in view of the new change. At the same time we would be interested to know more about how we would be affected by Inheritance Tax. The property is mortgage free. Thank you.

admin

1 April, 2014 1:55 pm

Dear Gillian

Dear Gillian

You do not mention if you are a resident or a non-resident owner of a property in Spain. If you are a non-resident then there is no need to change your Spanish wills. Non-residents are allowed to follow the law of the country where they actually reside permanently. If you are a UK resident then you can follow British law of succession in your Spanish will without having to actually stipulate this. British law of succession allows free choice of inheritors. If you are a resident in Spain you will have to include a special clause in your will if you wish to be exempt from following Spanish law which applies 'forced heirs' and not free choice of heirs. Spanish succession law dictates that a large portion of the estate has to be left to the deceased's children. 

Malcolm Pearce

29 April, 2014 5:01 pm

How does your answer in #2
How does your answer in #2 relate to will interpretation in home country if the Spanish property is jointly owned and one of the owners dies? In Spain presumably inheritance tax would be payable by the surviving spouse. This situation would not apply to a UK property as the surviving spouse would automatically inherit ( if decreed in the will) the deceased’s half. My wife and I non resident property owners in Spain.

admin

30 April, 2014 1:14 pm

Dear Malcolm

Dear Malcolm

In Spain shared properties owned by married couples are not recognized as assets in common in the same way as in the U.K. Under Spanish law the couple literally purchase and own undividable halves of the property and when one dies the remaining spouse inherits the other half (depending on their nationality and contents of will).

Inheritance tax is charged according to half the value of the property and the residency or non-residency status (i.e. involves permanent home or holiday home) of the deceased and the inheritors. The way in which the property was purchased under Spanish law would have to be respected outside of Spain.

john lawson

30 April, 2014 8:43 pm

Dear Malcolm
Dear Malcolm

please provide more information regarding the final sentnce of #4.

Hazel Owen

11 August, 2014 6:07 pm

My mother has lived in Spain
My mother has lived in Spain for 10 years but is now contemplating returning to the UK within a year and renting an apartment close to us (she is 86). However, she has bequeathed her apartment in Spain to me, which cost approx £120,000 initially but is now worth probain only £60,000 due to the resession/property slump there. I have been told that I would have to find approx £24,000 in inheritance tax and to pay it within 6 months or the property could be seized! Is this correct please? Also, my mother, has been putting some money aside for me in a Spanish bank account towards paying this tax but is it true that I wouldn’t be allowed to use this to pay the tax of £24,000?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

Hazel Owen

admin

14 August, 2014 4:55 pm

Dear Hazel

Dear Hazel

Yes, you have to pay the tax within the first six months unless a special extension is granted increasing the time to a year. If the tax isn't paid then fines and late payment interest are added but it is unlikely that it would reach the stage thet the property was seized.
 
Unfortunately, on your mother's death the bank account would be blocked. The funds in the account would be part of the estate and you would have to pay the tax on the whole estate (property and bank funds) before you could access the bank account. I hope this information helps. 
 

Taylor Kennedy

28 August, 2014 9:33 pm

If the home owner dies, never
If the home owner dies, never having been married and never had children, surely the sibling (sister or brother) would then become first in line…not third ( spouse first, children second, siblings third) therefore reducing the amount of payable inheritance tax? I don’t understand how they can be third in line when the first and second have never existed. Home owner and sibling both residents in Spain. How does this make sense?

admin

9 September, 2014 9:45 am

Dear Taylor

Dear Taylor

Thank you for your query.  If the home owner never had a spouse or children then they cannot be first in line and it would be the sibling, as the only relative, who would inherit. The only thing to be aware of is that if the home owner's parents are still alive then they might take precedence over the sibling. 

Steve

18 September, 2014 11:03 am

I have a quarter share in a
I have a quarter share in a property with my wife and her mother and father, do we need to put this property in our wills or does the property automatically go to the surging owners until there is only one owner left. Will there be any tax liability as the property is already owned and not being left to any of the owners. I hope this makes sense? I look forward to hearing from you

admin

19 September, 2014 3:23 pm

Hi Steve

Hi Steve

Thanks for your question. Although you own the property in joint names you each only own a share of the total. You do need to make a will as your share would be divided according to who your inheritors are. Your inheritors will also be liable for inheritance tax depending upon the value of the property, their status (resident/ non-resident etc)  and the relationship between you and the beneficiaries. 

lamb

6 November, 2014 11:25 am

My Husband owns a property in
My Husband owns a property in Tenerife, he wants to leave it to me. We are non residents and live offshore, Do the tax laws of Spain or Isle of Man apply regarding Inheritance tax?

admin

6 November, 2014 3:53 pm

Thank you for your enquiry.

Thank you for your enquiry. As the property is in Spanish territory the inheritance tax laws of Spain apply. 

paul in spain

31 December, 2014 12:54 pm

our Spanish will was made in
our Spanish will was made in 2006, with uk inheritors, children of both my wife and myself.
do we need to amend our will; can this be done on-line? the Spanish lawyer we used is no longer available.

admin

8 January, 2015 9:24 am

Dear Paul

Dear Paul

Thank you for your enquiry. If you are wanting to leave your property to each other should one of you die, then you will need to make a new will.After August 17th 2015, EU legislation states that you will have to follow Spanish succession law if you are resident in Spain. This means that at least two-thirds of your Spanish estate will have to pass to your children, not each other, unless you make a new will. 

In your new will it will have to be stated quite clearly in a special clause that you want to follow UK succession law. You can then choose freely who you want to leave your property to and in what proportion.  

A will in Spain must be signed personally before a Spanish Notary. You can choose any Notary or legal firm to assist you if you do not speak Spanish. 

ken cooper

31 January, 2015 9:19 am

I have been told that the Uk
I have been told that the Uk and southern Ireland did not sign up to the new legistaton on inheritance changes in the Eu so do we still have to change our will by the way we are resident in Spain

administrador

19 February, 2015 8:31 am

Dear Ken, thanks for your

Dear Ken, thanks for your enquiry

Yes, you do. The UK, Ireland and Denmark do have different succession laws to some other parts of Europe, including Spain. If you wish the succession laws from your native country to apply then you will have to include this in your will. If your present will doesn't do this then you should change it. 

colin stewart

5 February, 2015 12:04 am

I have read your info about
I have read your info about the forthcoming changes to inheritance law in Spain and understand that as of August ‘a certain percentage of the inheritance must be left to beneficiaries such as the spouse and children’.

Can you expand on this. If one of a couple resident in Spain, that jointly own their assets, dies, what percentage of the deceased’s estate would go to the spouse and what to the children if there are two children involved.

administrador

19 February, 2015 8:37 am

Dear Colin

Dear Colin

Thanks for your query. If you are a resident couple living in Spain and do not indicate in your will that you wish your own succession laws to apply, then Spanish succesion law will apply when you die (according to the law from August). This will mean that your half of the property will be divided between your two children (each having a third each) and your spouse (having a third) . In Spanish succession law, the children stand to inherit two-thirds of the estate. The remaining third cen be left to who you wish. 

Lavinia Exham

14 February, 2015 2:49 pm

My mother, a resident in
My mother, a resident in Spain, died last month – Jan 2015 – and left all her assets in Spain to my daughter, also resident in Spain. I am resident in France, and wonder whether I and my other two children have any claim on these assets – a property and bank accounts – if wills reflecting the country of origin -UK in my mother’s case – don’t come into effect until Aug 2015?
Thank you

administrador

19 February, 2015 9:12 am

Dear Lavinia

Dear Lavinia

Thank you for your enquiry. I am sorry to hear about your mother.  Your mother was in a position to leave her assets according to British succession law and there is no requirement for her to have left anything to you. After August 17th then a resident in Spain with British nationality will have to indicate in their will that they wish British succession law to apply. However, as your mother died before this requirement became law then she could leave her assets to who she wished without stipulating the country's succession in her will. 

Gary

17 February, 2015 12:33 pm

We are married and live in
We are married and live in the uk, We have a house in the uk and a villa in spain. The house is in my wife’s name and the villa’s is in my name. We have uk & Spanish wills both leaving both property’s to each other if one of us dies. Do we need to dp any more ??

administrador

19 February, 2015 9:05 am

Dear Gary,

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your enquiry. As you are both non-residents then there is no need for you to do any more. 

Marjorie Wilson

2 April, 2015 10:00 pm

My father, a British citizen
My father, a British citizen living in the UK, is writing his will. He has four children. Two in the UK and two who are resident in Spain. How can the will be written so that the Spanish residents do not pay inheritance tax on the property? They may wish to keep the property as a second home. Thank you.

Suzanne O'Connell

16 April, 2015 8:37 am

Dear Marjorie

Dear Marjorie

I'm afraid that there is nothing you can do to avoid the children who are resident in Spain paying Spanish inheritance tax. 

Gerry Dennis

6 April, 2015 1:59 pm

I am English and my is wife
I am English and my is wife is German and both of us own a house here in Spain in equal shares and have both made a will in favour of one another. We were both resident here in Spain but in February this year 2015 we both cancelled our residencies and shortly will be going to live in the UK on a permanent basis and we would like our wills to be carried out in accordance with British law succession.
Will you please advise if we need to change our wills or if being non resident makes it not necessary.

Suzanne O'Connell

16 April, 2015 8:40 am

Dear Gerry

Dear Gerry

As non-residents it is your own country's succession law that will apply. 

john bourne-bryant

18 May, 2015 5:22 pm

Please can you help re new
Please can you help re new will law.

I am resident full time and pay tax in Spain, I have a simple Spanish will.
My wife lives full time in UK,and has a simple Spanish will.

Presume I can go to a notary and have will re written?
If my wife creates a new will in UK will this solve problem for her, or must she have new Spanish will?

Suzanne O'Connell

19 May, 2015 9:34 am

Dear John

Dear John

Thanks for your enquiry. In relation to your will, you will need to make a new one to reflect the changes in EU legislation. However, if your wife is a non-resident then she does not need to change her will as the law does not apply to non-residents. 

Ann Bourne-Bryant

27 May, 2015 7:51 am

My husband and I are joint
My husband and I are joint owners of a property in Spain since 09/2007
We both have Spanish Wills.
My husband lives in the house in Spain and I live in the UK.
Do I need to change my will before the 17/08/2015 now that I am living in England?
Also what will my husband have to do about his in Spain ?

Regards Ann Bourne-Bryant

Suzanne O'Connell

28 May, 2015 2:50 pm

Thanks for your enquiry Ann.

Thanks for your enquiry Ann. You do not need to make a new Spanish will. The rule does not apply to non-residents as it is their national law that will apply. Of course, you will need to be sure that your will in the UK expresses your wishes. 

Your husband will need to add the new clause to his will if it doesn't contain it already. He should check with the solicitor who originally made your wills whether it is compliant or not. 

Maureen Lea

6 June, 2015 5:23 pm

My husband and myself have
My husband and myself have been living in Spain for 7 years, we are Spanish residents and pay tax here in Spain, We made Spanish wills 7 years ago and were told they had to be husband,wife and vice versa, we are 2nd time around married and have 1 child each from previous marriages, We also have a property in the uk which is rented out and we both have uk wills for dealing with assets in the uk. My question is do we need to make new wills here in Spain?

Suzanne O'Connell

10 June, 2015 10:36 am

Dear Maureen

Dear Maureen

Thanks for your question. My advice would be to make another will in Spain. It is perhaps particularly important when there is extended family and children by previous marriages. Your new will needs to state clearly that you want your own national law to apply. 

alanarmstrong

9 June, 2015 7:35 pm

my wife and I made wills when
my wife and I made wills when we moved to Spain 10 years ago at the time we were not residents in spain the reason for this was that I was not liable for paying tax under Spanish law as my income was only my private pension I was under state pension age when I received my state pension I was liable to pay Spanish tax so we applied and became residents in Spain and have made tax returns and paid tax for the passed three years does our wills have to be updated our present wills state that should one of us pass away the other would inherit everything and if we should both die together our two children would then inherit everything do we have to make fresh wills or do the ones we have remain acceptable
should we have to make fresh wills can you give me the approx. cost
and finally should we not have wills altered how would our wills be distributed we have two Children a son who lives in Canada and a daughter who lives in the UK sorry for the long winded e-mail hope you can answer my queries thanks in anticipation of your reply

Suzanne O'Connell

24 June, 2015 1:13 pm

Yes, you do have to make

Yes, you do have to make fresh wills as residents and we explain more about the process and the cost on this link http://www.abacoadvisers.com/abaco-inheritance/spanish-wills. If you do not make new wills your assets will pass to your children according to Spanish succession law and not to your spouse. 

Karen Turner

15 June, 2015 5:18 pm

my husband and I jointly own
my husband and I jointly own a property in Spain, we are non residents and have both an English will and a Spanish will. Both wills state that the surviving spouse will inherit and only on the death of the surviving spouse will property and assets be passed to the 4 children. My solicitor today said that we need to make a new will for Spain and that we can not make any amendendments due to the new law

Suzanne O'Connell

17 June, 2015 8:18 am

Dear Karen

Dear Karen

Your solicitor will have advised you to do this because of the EU legislation which now means that your Spanish will must state that you want British inheritance law to apply. This matters in your case as you wish to leave your property to one another rather than a proportion to your children (a requirement in Spanish inheritance law).  Unfortunately you cannot just amend a will in Spain but have to have a new one if you wish to make a change. 

G Nulty

30 June, 2015 10:00 am

I have lived in Spain for 9
I have lived in Spain for 9 years and am a Spanish resident but not a Spanish tax resident we have Spanish wills do I have to state that I want to have my English will to take preference before Aug 17 I am also trying to sell my house to move back to England but am having trouble selling
Could you offer some advice on what to do
Yours G Nulty

Suzanne O'Connell

1 July, 2015 9:52 am

Hi

Hi

As a Spanish resident you should change your Spanish will in order to make sure that your own national succession law applies.  

The market does seem to have improved recently for buying and selling, making sure your property is realistically priced is particularly important. You might also approach estate agents with links in the Scandinavian communities. This is quite a busy market at the moment. 

Granville Brown

14 July, 2015 9:07 am

My wife and I both have
My wife and I both have Spanish wills and UK wills. We are non-resident in Spain. In our UK wills which were wrote in 2004, we have a clause stating that our Spanish will should remain in force for our Spanish assets. Our Spanish will is simple in that we leave each other our assets and then after we both die the children then receive equal shares. Under the new legislation, should we amend both our wills, or just leave them as they are.

Suzanne O'Connell

15 July, 2015 2:27 pm

Dear Granville

Dear Granville

Thank you for your question. Our advice to you is to leave your will as it is. As you are non-resident you will not be affected. 

joachim

17 August, 2015 2:51 pm

I am married, but do not have
I am married, but do not have a Spanish will. We are residents in Spain.When one of us dies,will my husband inherit automatically? We have no children.

Suzanne O'Connell

17 September, 2015 10:01 am

No, your husband won’t

No, your husband won't automatically inherit. Part share of your half of the property will go to another relative such as your parents or siblings under Spanish succession law. You will need to make a will that includes the new clause if you want to make sure that your husband inherits everything. 

Sheila Smither

19 August, 2015 3:35 pm

I have been a Spanish
I have been a Spanish resident for 2 years and pay Spanish taxes. I own a house in Spain and that is my only asset (I have very little capital)
I made a Spanish will when I arrived in Spain leaving everything to my only sister and in the event of her predeceasing me to my niece (her only daughter) I have no other close relatives abs was divorced over 40 years ago. I asked my solicitor whether I should add the new clause to my will but she said it wasn’t necessary as I have no other close relatives.
Can you confirm that this is the case and also what rate the inheritance tax is please? Is there anything I can do to reduce the inheritance task
Thank you

Suzanne O'Connell

17 September, 2015 10:04 am

Dear Sheila

Dear Sheila

I would agree with the advice you've been given. It is difficult to say exactly how much the inheritance tax would be as it depends on the value of the asset and its location. It is unlikely that you would be able to reduce the inheritance tax as one of the ways you can do this is through splitting the assets between relatives. With only your sister and niece there are not many ways in which you would be able to do this. 

Paul

19 August, 2015 5:25 pm

My father lived in Spain for
My father lived in Spain for approximately 15 years and died last year whilst resident there. He made a Spanish Will will which covered assets in Spain, however, he had some assets (money) held outside of Spain, which were covered by an English Will, however I’ve been advised that even though he made an English Will, Spanish rules of inheritence apply. What is the division of assets between wife and children under the Spanish rules of Inheritence ? I hope you can help in this matter.
Regards
Paul

Suzanne O'Connell

17 September, 2015 10:07 am

Dear Paul

Dear Paul

No. It is UK probate who will deal with the property. Also, your father died before the new rules came in and so the estate will be distributed according to your father's Spanish will. 

Karen Hubble

25 August, 2015 3:00 pm

Can you advise we a residents
Can you advise we a residents in Spain we own our home here no mortgage
Our current will Spanish will States that if either I or my husband dies the property and all assets ie money in bank passes to the surviving person if both of us die then the house and assets is divided equally between our 3 children 2 of my husband 1 of me. How will the new law effect me and my husband I or he wouldn’t want to have to sell the house if one of us dies thank you

Suzanne O'Connell

17 September, 2015 10:09 am

Dear Karen

Dear Karen

In order to make sure that your half of the property goes to the surviving spouse you need to include the clause in your Spanish will to specify that you want your own national law to apply. 

Edward

2 September, 2015 11:51 pm

My mother in law is a Spanish
My mother in law is a Spanish resident and has a spanish will leaving her villa to her two daughters and one stepdaughter. Should her daughters wish to sell the villa after their mothers death can they force the stepdaughter to agree?

Suzanne O'Connell

17 September, 2015 9:53 am

Dear Edward

Dear Edward

The first option is for the stepdaughter to buy the daughters' share of the property if she does not want to sell. If she is unable or does not want to do this, then the daughters could take her to court and the judge will probably rule that the house must be sold to release the daughters' share of the property. 

Elena Montes

23 September, 2015 5:07 am

Greetings…..
Greetings…..

Have been searching the web for basic informaton on Guardianship laws in Spain if both parents have deceased, in particular, the child´s custody being given to a relative abroad (Canada). Is there any info on the web that could give me an overview of the laws and process in Spain prior to visiting a notary or lawyer?

Many thanks….
E Montes

Suzanne O'Connell

6 October, 2015 7:37 am

Dear Elena

Dear Elena

Unfortunately this isn't an area that we specialise in as it is family law. The custody of a child when the parents have died is done through legal proceedings. To make sure you get the correct advice you should contact a lawyer specialising in family law as soon as possible. 

Helen

13 October, 2015 9:53 am

My parents, UK nationals
My parents, UK nationals residing in UK, have asked me to sort out their Spanish wills regarding their Spanish property. Their existing UK wills exclude their property in Spain. They wish to leave all assets equally to my sister (UK national and resident) and myself (UK national resident in Spain). I have advice from a Spanish notary saying that their UK will should be universal, and then they can make and register an identical Spanish will, rather than having two wills separating assets. Could you give me advice as to why one option might be better than the other?

Suzanne O'Connell

15 October, 2015 10:36 am

Hi Helen

Hi Helen

Your parents' UK will could cover all your world wide assets. However, we do recommend that non-residents have a Spanish will too to cover their Spanish assets. The two can run simultaneously. If they only have a UK will then when one of them should die, it will have to be translated and legalised to apply in Spain. It is easier to use a Spanish will to deal with probate in Spain. 

Brendan

19 January, 2016 10:04 pm

My husband and I are legally
My husband and I are legally married in Spain. We have a property in Spain and in Ireland. We are currently writing our Spanish will. I already have an Irish will bequeating the Irish property (it’s in my name) to my husband. In our Spanish will I will be stating that the property in Ireland is being left to my husband. Is this sufficient or does the Spanish will need to specifically state that I wish Irish inheritance laws to apply in the case of the Irish property?

Suzanne O'Connell

21 January, 2016 10:35 am

Dear Brendan

Dear Brendan

From your question I assume that you are residents in Spain. You will need to include a clause in your Spanish will to state that you want Irish succession law to apply. You can limit your will in Spain to just cover your Spanish assets and this will mean that your Irish will will still apply even though it was made before the Spanish one. Your assets in Ireland will be covered by your Irish will and Irish succession law. 

Brendan

25 January, 2016 10:03 pm

Thank you.
Thank you.

Annick Mizel

20 February, 2016 5:30 pm

Help please. My husband and
Help please. My husband and I both have Spanish wills leaving one to the other and to children in the event of both of us dying. Is it advisable to change and include the new clause or because of the simplicity of the will can we just leave it. We have a modest property and not much in the way of assets. If we do have to amend our wills does it mean completely new wills?

Suzanne O'Connell

25 February, 2016 12:07 pm

The law only applies to

The law only applies to residents. Assuming that you are both resident and you are wanting to leave your property first to each other and then to your children you should have the clause that you want your own national law to apply included in your will. I'm afraid this does mean that you need to make a new will. If you opt not to do this then your will shall revert to Spanish succession law and your property will not automatically transfer to your partner but your children instead. 

Sandra Grant

5 April, 2016 6:13 am

Hi Suzanne, my elderly mother
Hi Suzanne, my elderly mother who resides in England jointly owns a property in Marbella with her eldest daughter (my sister). My mum previously made a Spanish will leaving her Spanish property to all us three children including the sister who is joint owner. How will her estate be divided when my mother passes away please? and will her estate be dealt with under Spanish or English law. Thank you for your time.

regards, Sandra.

Suzanne O'Connell

6 April, 2016 11:36 am

Hi Sandra

Hi Sandra

The estate will be dealt with according to Spanish inheritance tax law because the property is in Spain. When your mother passes away then her half of the property will be divided up between the three children. The daughter who is joint owner will receive a third of it and that will then be added to her existing half. 

Neil Smith

22 April, 2016 1:16 pm

We bought a villa in Spain in
We bought a villa in Spain in January 2007. We were not correctly advised and we registered the villa in my sole name. How do I transfer the Title to joint names with my wife. The villa has a mortgage with La Caixa Bank
Thank you

Suzanne O'Connell

4 May, 2016 11:56 am

Dear Neil

Dear Neil

You will have to sell or donate half of the property to your wife. There will be legal costs and tax to pay in both cases. You will have to check with the bank first about the mortgage. 

Lucy

2 May, 2016 9:05 pm

My mother in law has just
My mother in law has just lost her husband and in the process of paying the inheritance tax. She received a phone call saying her 2 sons have to agree to let her stay in her property is this right? I’ve read that they both own a third and so does my mother in law but can not do anything until she dies. Do her 2 sons have to pay tax on that too?
One final question what happens when my mother in law passed away, in we will she’s left everything to her 2 sons half & half does it follow her will or does it go to anyone else? Please help

Suzanne O'Connell

4 May, 2016 11:54 am

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy

I don't have all the details here but from what you write it appears that Spanish succession law is being applied and this is why the two sons are involved. Yes, they will have to pay inheritance tax on their inherited part but there are usually tax free allowances applicable to children. When your mother passes away then inheritance will follow what it says in her will providing it complies with the succession law of her nationality. 

Sam

23 May, 2016 5:11 pm

my father passed away on 8th
my father passed away on 8th May 2016. He was resident in Spain for 14 years,with his wife. She passed away in 2012. He has not done anything with her will. They were mirror wills dated 2004 leaving everything to her niece’ despite having 4 children. Does the new ruling mean the children will automatically inherit 2/3 of the estate?

Suzanne O'Connell

25 May, 2016 8:54 am

Dear Sam,

Dear Sam,

Yes, his wife's half will go to her children in equal parts and his half to his children according to Spanish succession law. 

Kelly

30 July, 2016 12:52 pm

My father died 10 years ago,
My father died 10 years ago, and left all his wealth to his wife / who is my step-mother. The sole beneficiary of her estate is her brother and I have not been named in the will. Do I have any claim? She is a Spanish resident and owns property in Spain. Can I contest the will?

Suzanne O'Connell

10 August, 2016 7:09 am

Dear Kelly

Dear Kelly

I'm afraid that if your father left everything to his wife in the will everything becomes hers.  She can then bequeath to whom she wants to in her will, or if governed by Spanish law, her children will inherit. 

Mary Jane

2 October, 2016 9:08 am

I am new here in Spain, my
I am new here in Spain, my husband is a Spanish national but living 42 years in uk. I am Spanish resident since last year. He bought property before we got married 2015. My question is… What is my stand or law applies if one of us die? He has 2 grown up kids and I have 1 adopted who is 18 yo now. We both don’t know much about law in Spain. My husband left the country when he was 19 yo to Uk and he is now 65yo.

Thank you.

Suzanne O'Connell

4 October, 2016 10:14 am

Dear Mary

Dear Mary

Thanks for your enquiry. If your husband should die then Spanish  national law will apply to how his property is distributed. This means that the property will be divided between you and his children. As you are a British national then you can make a will that includes the clause invoking your nationality. This means that you can leave your estate to whoever you want. 

Mark

4 October, 2016 5:45 am

Hello. My mother and step
Hello. My mother and step father owned a property in Tenerife. My mum died 10 years ago and my step father has recently sold the property. We have never had a good relationship and im sure hes going to have changed his will. On my mums death my step father inherited everything. They had mirror wills, both leaving everything to each other then to me and my step fathers daughter on the remaining persons death. A solicitor im consulting thinks I should check out the Spanish will they had as he thinks I may have been entitled to a share of the proceeds of the Tenerife property. It is costing me a lot of money to just find out the contents of their Spanish will. Is it possible to give me an idea of my chances of having any claim? They generally spent around 6 or 7 months a year in Tenerife since about 1997. I know they had a Spanish will, and im pretty sure it matched the English one. Any advise gratefully received. many thanks

Suzanne O'Connell

4 October, 2016 10:18 am

Dear Mark

Dear Mark

When your mother died and your stepfather inherited everything, then you no longer had any claim to the property. Your stepfather became the sole owner and could sell or bequeath the property as he wished. 

Nigel A Hails

16 December, 2016 8:34 am

Both my wife and I are
Both my wife and I are resident in Spain (10 years). We jointly own our property., We have Spanish and UK wills. Our Spaish wills state that we require the inheritance law of our Country /Nationality to apply. We have heard that the wording should state according to the law of England and Wales. Is this correct?

Suzanne O'Connell

28 December, 2016 11:50 am

Dear Nigel

Dear Nigel

There is a phrase which we include in wills to ensure that the inheritance law of your country applies. 

PRIMERA: De conformidad con lo dispuesto en el artículo 22 del Reglamento del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo numero 650/2.012, de 04 de julio 2.012, es voluntad del compareciente que su sucesión se rija por la ley de su nacionalidad.–

A estos efectos el testador manifiesta que mantiene estrecho vínculo con Reino Unido y por lo tanto es su expreso deseo que la Ley que regule sus derechos sucesorios en España sea la de su nacionalidad (nacionalidad británica).———

 

 

FIRST: According to the provisions of article 22 of the Rules of the European Parliament and Council Nº 650/2012 of 4 July 2012, the testator wishes that his estate is governed by the laws of his own nationality.—————————-

To this effect, the testator declares that he is closely bound to United Kingdom and it is therefore expressly declared by him that he wishes the law of his own nationality to govern his succession rights in Spain (British nationality).

 

Carole Body

24 March, 2017 1:46 pm

Both myself and my husband
Both myself and my husband are resident in Spain for more than 15 years. If we become Spanish nationals could we still opt for uk inheritance rules to apply to our estate? Eg. Will our estate to whom we choose? We have no children.

Suzanne O'Connell

28 March, 2017 7:38 am

Dear Carole

Dear Carole

Thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately, if you become Spanish nationals then your inheritance will have to follow Spanish inheritance law. 

Derek

13 April, 2017 2:13 pm

I have a joint bank account
I have a joint bank account with my partner and we jointly own our property in Spain. Will the bank account get frozen in the event of one of our deaths?

Suzanne O'Connell

18 April, 2017 10:19 am

Hi Derek

Hi Derek

Thank you for your query. The bank account is not automatically frozen. Only when the bank is notified of the death e.g. by the lawyer dealing with the inheritance process, is half of the account frozen. 

Susan Franklin

29 April, 2017 9:26 pm

My Mother has passed away in
My Mother has passed away in Spain . She left a Spainish will naming myself and her grandchildren to inherit . But she had an off shore Barclays account and the lawyers are saying this is English . It looks that i will be expected to sort this out ? Or will they demand monies , taxes from this also ?
At present i do not know how much is in the account .

Suzanne O'Connell

9 May, 2017 7:53 am

Hi Susan

Hi Susan

Thank you for contacting us. This will  be deemed to be a UK asset and will have to be dealt with under UK probate laws. Tax might be applicable depending on the amount in the account.

Hayley Rogers

5 June, 2017 11:33 am

My husband died in July 2016.
My husband died in July 2016. He was an English resident and his estate has been dealt with under English law. He owned a property in Spain, in his sole name. He had no Spanish will or English will. He has 2 adult children from a previous marriage.
How will the property be divided?
I have had probate completed in England, sating I am the administrator of his estate.

Regards

Suzanne O'Connell

8 June, 2017 10:04 am

Dear Hayley

Dear Hayley

I am sorry to hear about your loss. As your husband didn't leave a will and was a resident of the UK, the Law of Succession in the UK means that his property in Spain will go to you. You will need to go through the inheritance process in Spain with regard to his Spanish property and a certificate of law will be required from the UK confirming UK Succession Law. This will also need to be legalised at the foreign office. 

sophie heydel

13 June, 2017 5:07 pm

I have been advised to make
I have been advised to make two wills, one in UK for my assets in UK and another one in Spain for my assets here. I am British but with Spanish residency I have been living here for 18 years. A Spanish Lawyer is saying that I should only have one will for all my worldly assets made here in Spain. But UK solicitors are saying otherwise, that I should have two separate wills covering both countries. Can you advise?

Suzanne O'Connell

15 June, 2017 10:45 am

Dear Sophie,

Dear Sophie,

You do not have to have two separate wills but it makes it easier for your inheritors if you do. If you have a British will as well then there is no need to have your Spanish will translated and legalised for use outside of Spain. 

James

16 June, 2017 7:26 am

Hi my dad has lived in Spain
Hi my dad has lived in Spain for over 10 years now. My mum passed away and he decided to move. Unfortunately he found another another partner, not married to her, she left her husband twice to live in Spain with my dad, still married to her husband. My dad has foolishly put the villa in his will as her, me and my brother. She still visits him. He is very stubborn and can’t see she is just after the money. He thinks that when he passes he trusts her to give me and my brother the full share, no chance. As they are not married or even together anymore has she any legal right or can me and my brother do anything about it.

Suzanne O'Connell

29 June, 2017 11:02 am

Hi James

Hi James

The answer depends on whether your father has included the clause in his will that says he wants UK succession law to apply. If he has then he can leave his property to who he wants, including in the way you describe. If not, then Spanish succession law will apply and your father's partner will only be able to inherit one third of the property with the remaining two thirds being left to you and your brother. 

Craig

18 June, 2017 1:04 pm

My mother dies in 2013, she
My mother dies in 2013, she was resident and did not have a Spanish will. Her English will states that it excluded Spain and so couldnt be accepted, on getting probate in the UK it also stated the same so was invalid. We were told that we would need a Certificate of Law to complete inheritance of her only asset (a plot of land) which we never did. My father has sinced moved back to the UK and is therefore is no longer resident of Spain. What is his situation now in terms of inheritance? Does it now automatically come under Spanish law even though she died before this change?

Suzanne O'Connell

4 July, 2017 9:07 am

Dear Craig

Dear Craig

If there was no Spanish will then you will need a certificate of law.