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Inheritances in Spain: what to do if there is a Will. Final steps (part II).

In our previous post we started to study the inheritance process when are Spanish properties involved. In this second post, we will see how to deal with it when there is a Will and what steps have to be done in Spain.

Dealing with an English-Welsh Will

If the deceased has an English/Welsh Will and there isn’t a Spanish Will, the English and Welsh Will will apply to Spanish assets too.

The English/Welsh Last Will not only explains who the heirs are, but also names the executors. The executors of the Will are the only authorised to apply for the “Grant of Probate”. The proceeding is the same as the one already explained for “Letter of Administration” document. Some tax form must be fulfilled and paid too.
From 4-6 weeks after sending the application, you will receive the Grant of Probate from the Court. To deal with the Spanish properties, you will need to legalise the document and, probably, to obtain a Certificate of Law from an English Notary Public explaining how English law works.

Spanish Last Will: what to do

If you have a copy of this Spanish Will, you are able to jump to the next step directly. If you don’t have it; you can ask in the “Registro de Últimas Voluntades”. There, you will receive a legal document called “Últimas Voluntades” including where and when the Last Will was signed.

What happens if there are two Wills?

Normally, the latest Will revokes the older ones. However, British citizens are able to have different Wills if they have assets or properties in different countries. But each Last Will has to stipulate if the effects of the documents are limited to United Kingdom or not. If nothing is said, the Last Will will revoke any other Last Will, doesn’t mind if they are foreign last Will and Testaments.

Next step: what to do once you have all the documents

If we are going to deal with an inheritance in Spain, the signature in a Notary public is required. This kind of deed is called “aceptación de herencia” (acceptance of inheritance). All heirs and executors/administrator (remember: executor and administrator is the same role. It is called executor if he/she was named in the Last Will and administrator if he/she was named directly by the Court) have to be there to sign the deed. However, a Spanish lawyer can sign on their behalf with a Power of Attorney.

They Notary Public will ask for the following documents:

  • Last Will and Testament: if there is a Spanish one, a “copia simple” is required. If it is an English/Welsh one, shall be legalised and translated.
  • Grant of Probate / Letter of administration: legalised and translated if there is an English/Welsh (Grant of Probate) of if there isn’t any Will and the deceased passed away in United Kingdom (Letter of Administration)
  • Últimas Voluntades document
  • Death certificate: if the person has died in United Kingdom, the document shall be legalised and translated
  • Copy of title of acquisition if there is any property in the estate. And, in general any document related with the assets of the inheritance (bank receipts with the details of the deceased, purchase deeds, title of a car…)
  • Personal details of all heirs and executors/administrators: specially, their N.I.E. (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros, Foreign Citizens Identification Number)

And, how much I have to pay?

Costs changes a lot to one inheritance to another. The value of the estate, as well as the region where they are (each Spanish region has its own tax rate) affects the costs. Here you can see a list of the costs you have to deal with:

  • Notary Public fee
  • Land registry fee
  • Inheritance tax
  • Plusvalia tax
  • Gestoria
  • Lawyers fee

Is everything done? Really?

After the signature of the deed, the heirs and executors/administrators don’t have to do anything more. The Notary Public and the gestoria will deal with all the administrative stuff as changing the owners name in Land Registry (if there is a property in the estate), dealing with water or electricity companies, dealing with taxes…

After few weeks, the properties as well as the rest of the assets will be changed in name of the new owners (the heirs) and the process will be finished.

As a Lawyers, we have a large experience dealing with inheritances in Spain for British citizens. Do no hesitate to contact us if you have any question!

Written by Ana Escauriaza

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