Inherit in Spain
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Klev&Vera, your Inheritance English speaking lawyers in Spain
Each case is unique, that’s why our dedicated team will first listen to your particular situation, then carefully evaluate the possible solutions and then walk you through the whole process, making sure your interests are protected and all legal procedures are completed under Spanish law.
Our law firm is made up of English-speaking lawyers who have years of experience in premium assistance helping with inheritance in Spain.
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How inheritance in Spain works
The Spanish Civil Code establishes the rules on how the assets of a deceased person shall pass to his or her heirs. However, several Spanish regions (autonomous communities) have their own Civil Codes and the rules are likely to be different if the person who died lived in one of those regions: Catalonia, Aragon, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country, and Navarre.
Inheritance tax is also a regional tax, so it will be different depending on which region the deceased person’s assets are located.
In general the process of inheriting property in Spain is easier if a deceased person left a will. If not, the succession goes under a special process of ab intestata, and it may vary depending on the regional rules.
Our expert family law lawyers will assist you in case you want to make a will or have inherited a property in Spain.
What do you need to know about will and probate in Spain?
Can I find inherited assets in Spain?
Yes, you only need the death certificate and a power of attorney to start the research. It is possible to access public records of real estate assets, bank accounts, and all other assets (e.g. cards or art) registered in public registries.
What are the inheritance laws in Spain?
In Spain, there are different inheritance regulations depending on the region and whether the deceased person has made a will or not.
Who is entitled to inherit property in Spain?
The heir is the one designated in the will. If there is no will, depending on the region of Spain, the heirs will be the children or the spouse. If the person who died had no spouse or children, it would go to the next relatives in line, e.g. parents, brothers and sisters, or further family members. And if there is no family, it will go to the state.
What is the process for distributing inheritance in Spain?
First it is necessary to make an act of acceptance of inheritance before a notary public. If there are different heirs and there is no agreement between them on the distribution of the inheritance, they will start legal proceedings in court.
Are there any taxes or fees associated with inheriting property in Spain?
Inheritance tax in Spain is managed by the regions, so it will vary depending on where the person who died lived. Depending on the region of Spain, there can be a high inheritance tax, in Catalonia for example. Most regions offer exemptions or reductions for close relatives, or smaller inherited amounts.
If the inheritance includes real estate, there is also a capital gains tax on this real estate which is paid to the town hall of the town where the property is located.
In addition, there are the notary fees to accept the inheritance and the land registry fees to register the inherited real estate in the name of the new owner.
Can a will be contested in Spain?
It can be contested before the acceptance of the inheritance is made. After acceptance of the inheritance, the grounds for contesting the inheritance are very limited and there is a time limit for doing so.
What happens if someone dies without a will in Spain?
If a person dies without a will, what is called intestate succession is opened, and the heir will be the one established by civil law that applied in the place of “civil residence” – vecindad civil – of the person who died. Before making the acceptance of the inheritance before a notary, the heirs will first need to make a public deed of declaration of heirs in front of a notary.
Can a non-Spanish resident inherit property in Spain?
Yes, you can. If the heir is not Spanish, he/she has to obtain a NIE number to inherit property in Spain. There is a way to obtain it for non-residents for economic reasons.
What are the rights of surviving spouses and children in Spain?
It depends on the region of Spain where the person who died lived, and if there is a will or not.
If there is a will, the heir will be the person who is determined in the will, and the children will have the legitima part even if the will does not include them, because that is what the law establishes.
If there is no will, for example in Catalonia, the children are the heirs in equal parts, and the spouse is the usufructuary of the inheritance per life. Likewise, in Catalonia there is a fourth estate in favour of the non-heir spouse and the “any de plor“. Other regions of Spain have different rules, so it is necessary to study all the circumstances.
How can a person protect their assets and ensure their wishes are carried out after their death in Spain?
You can do this by executing a will before a notary in Spain before your death. This will can be complementary to your main will in your main place of residence and assets location.
What is the role of a notary in the inheritance process in Spain?
Notaries play a very important role in the inheritance process in Spain. The will is made before a notary. Likewise, the acceptance of the deceased person’s inheritance by his or her heirs must be made before a notary.
If there is no will, all heirs must appear in front of the notary to declare as heirs in an intestate succession process.