estate planning and wills
Upon acquiring a property or assets in Spain, although a Spanish Will is not a legal requirement, we highly recommend that clients have a Will in place.
In the event of intestate death (without a Will), the heirs or interested parties are required to follow an intestacy proceeding in the intestate’s country’s court and obtain a resolution by such court declaring who the legal heirs (distributes) to the Estate (Intestate property) are.
If however, there is a Will in place at the time of the testator’s death, which contains provisions and/or specifications regarding the Spanish assets, a Grant of Probate must be obtained in the Testator’s country’s Court ratifying who the legal heirs to the Spanish Estate are.
A foreign will can be enforced in Spain, but not without a possibly very costly and time consuming legal procedure for the deceased’s beneficiaries, due to the involvement of different legal jurisdictions and applicable international regulation.
The International Law provisions of the Spanish Civil Code (Article 9) provides that when a foreign property owner passes away, even when holding an official Spanish Residence permit, the disposal of any of the deceased’s assets in Spain will be governed by his own national law, and not by Spanish applicable law.
The Will is a personal and individual act of the testator, which must be signed personally by the Testator and not by means of a power of attorney or proxy. Spanish legislation does not authorize for two testators to execute one same joint will, therefore separate wills are required for each testator. Wills can be drafted in double column to include Spanish and the native language of the testator, and to then to formalize this document personally by executing it before a Notary Public in Spain.
For property located in Spain, Inheritance Tax must be paid to Spanish Authorities.