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Important Changes to Making a Will in Spain

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One of the most important parts of the post-purchase process after buying a property in Spain is making a will. This document should clearly state how you wish your assets (including property) to be distributed and the will must be signed before a notary.

An important change is about to be introduced next august 2015 affecting Spanish wills made by foreign residents in Spain. At Andalusian Lawyers, we’ve prepared some FAQs for information on making a will in Spain:

What are the new regulations?
Under the new EU Directive inheritance law of the country of residency applies to all foreign residents living in an EU country (except Denmark, Ireland and the UK) unless the individual makes a specific statement to the contrary in a will made in the country of residency. So this means that if you have not stated that you wish your national law to apply to your future inheritance then the spanish law will be applied.

What are Spanish inheritance laws?
Spain has a law of obligatory heirs under which assets must be left as follows:

  • One third to the surviving children in equal parts.
    One third to the surviving children and descendants divided as the testator wishes.
    One third may be freely disposed of.

Who does this law of obligatory heirs apply to?
1. All Spanish nationals.
2. From 17 August this year, all foreign residents in Spain unless they state specifically in their will that they wish their assets to be divided as per the inheritance law in their country of nationality.

When do the new regulations come into force?
17 August 2015. After this date, assets in Spain belonging to foreign residents whose wills do not state that they wish to leave their assets according to the law in their country of nationality will be divided according to Spanish law.

Do the new regulations affect non-residents?
No.

How can I avoid Spanish inheritance laws being applied to my assets?
You must make a written will and state clearly in it that you wish the inheritance laws of your country to be applied to your assets. So, for example, if you are British and resident in Spain, you must make sure your will states that British inheritance law applies to your assets.

What happens if I already have a Spanish will?
Revise it carefully to see if it states that you wish your assets to be disposed of as per the law in your country of your nationality. If it doesn’t, you should make a new will.

What if I don’t have a Spanish will?
Anyone who owns assets in Spain should make a will because it speeds up and facilitates the inheritance process considerably. The new regulations make it even more important to have a correct will. Contact a lawyer specialising in inheritance matters for professional advice on how best to protect your interests.
Andalusian Lawyers offers independent legal advice on Spanish inheritance matters. Contact us now for more information on how we can help you ensure your inheritance is divided according to your wishes.

For more information on Spanish inheritance law in general download our FREE guide here.

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