Spain Explained

Time frame to complete the Inheritance process in Spain

Last updated on March 19th, 2020 at 02:04 pm.

Nobody is really prepared for a bereavement, but unfortunately all legalities need to be completed within a certain time limit.

In our country there is no transfer of ownership from deceased to inheritor automatically upon decease, on the contrary in Spain it is necessary to sign a new title deed where the estate registered in the name of the decease is transferred to the proved as legal inheritor.

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The inheritance process needs to be completed within six months since the date of death. A new Title Deed for the Spanish assets, in the inheritor’s name, must be signed in the presence of a Public Spanish Notary.

Before this new ownership can be registered at the corresponding Authority, as the Law stands, there is an obligation to declare Inheritance Tax (even though this might be 0 depending on individual circumstances) and Plusvalía tax.

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When delaying the tax declaration later then the above indicated six months this will have as a consequence a penalty fee and late payment interest on the Tax that will vary depending on how long you delay the Tax Declaration. After six months from the decease starts counting the period when you are applied extra fees, every three months will be applied a 5% extra on the amount due to be paid up to 20% payable if there is a delay of a year, since then the current legal interest of money will be applied.

Therefore it is essential to contact us to start with the Inheritance process with time enough, in order to avoid further complications in such a difficult moment.

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26 December, 2021 10:16 pm

My husband transferred his money from USA to an account in Malaga in Spain. He had a NIE. Suddenly he died. The Notary in Fuengirola has sent his will To Florida be APOSTILLISED. He said once it’s been APOSTILLISED, returned to Spain and translated into Spanish then the funds will be payable to me. I am the sole executor, no children. . There is no property either. Just purely funds in Banco Santander. The bank manager said once the paperwork in USA is complete they will transfer funds into my name. Roughly, what is the time scale on this. He died 8th October, 2021. Notary and bank were 8 infirmed immediately. There is a copy if the will and the original is in USA awaiting appostilation..

Oscar Paoli

3 January, 2022 6:04 pm

Hi Lynda,
We believe that the best thing to do is to ask the bank directly, they are the ones who will have to release the funds and transfer it to your name. You mention that the notary in Fuengirola is doing the paperwork for you, perhaps they have a more detailed idea of the time frame in which they expect to have things arranged. Each bank works differently and it takes a certain amount of time depending on which one. If you have any problems or you are not happy with who is handling the transfer, we can provide the service should you require it. You are welcome to contact us at
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Kerrie West

9 January, 2023 5:49 am

Hello, my father passed last year. He was a USA citizen with property in Spain. My problem is there are multiple inheritors, one of which will not sign documents or work together with us to complete the inheritance. This person is also prevented by law from obtaining a US passport. If a person can’t or won’t accept inheritance what does that mean for the other inheritors? Will we ever be able to sell and inherit our shares?

Oscar Paoli

12 January, 2023 12:20 pm


The only way to resolve this case would be through court. You have to go to court to have a judge ask the heir in question to appear and, if necessary, rule on what to do and who inherits ones share.

The case is that he has to appear to accept or repudiate the inheritance in some way. The issue of the passport is necessary, at least for the NIE application, but if the person is disabled, maybe he/she has a legal representative who can assist in this matter.

We would recommend to take the matter to a law firm that handles judicial matters to be able to guide you better in the process.

With kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers


9 May, 2023 11:06 am

Hello. I was about to buy an apartment in Gandia (Valencia province) that I really like. I was told that the widow who lived in it had moved to an old age home and that the widow and the two daughters were in agreement to sell the apartment.

Then I learned that there in fact three children: the two daughters, but also a son (who had died.)

Now the inheritance procedure is delayed because I am told they are figuring out who the legal heirs are.

My question is this: if the third child (the son) has died, aren’t the legal heirs the widow and the two daughters?

If the dead son had children, would they now be considered legal heirs? It has become complicated and I don’t know if I should start looking for another apartment …

Thank you for your opinion.

Oscar Paoli

15 May, 2023 12:50 pm

Hi Julia,

It depends on the nationality of the deceased as well as their residence, date of death, whether there is a will, etc. First we have to see which law regulates the specific inheritance process. For example, if it is Spanish law because the deceased is a Spaniard resident in Spain, the children of the deceased’s son or daughter (i.e. grandchildren) have inheritance rights.

In short, we cannot give an answer without more information.

Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further queries.

Kind regards,

Ábaco Advisers


14 July, 2023 11:37 am

Hola. I have been patiently waiting since early April to move forward on purchasing an apartment in the Valencia region. There were inheritance issues (the sellers are Spanish), which I believe have been resolved now.

The last message I received from the real estate agent was – “Nos han dicho que ya han hecho la declaracion de herederos y ya han pasado 21 dias que habia que esperar para cerrar el acta, ahora hay que esperar a que se registre en el registro y nos avisara la notaria.”

In this case, can you tell me what the next steps are … and how long it will take? Is it normal for things to take so long?

gracias de antemano

Oscar Paoli

3 August, 2023 10:46 am

Unfortunately inheritance processes can take a long time, specially if complicated.
If they have signed and just waiting for the registration and hoping all paper work in in order it would be between 1 and 2 months to have it registered and ready to sell.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers