Are you an expat in Spain with assets or property here? If so, we would highly recommend you make a Spanish will! Our clients have saved money, time and stress for their beneficiaries by making a Spanish will using our services. Keep reading to find out all the benefits!
First of all, why is it important to write a Will in Spain?
Writing a Spanish will gives you peace of mind that your affairs and assets are looked after in accordance with your wishes. If you do not dictate how you would like your assets to be divided up between your family or friends, then the law will decide for you. Spanish succession laws differ greatly from other European countries, having a will made in Spain ensures you are conforming to all the required laws.
What is the main difference between Spanish inheritance laws and the UK?
A key difference between the two countries succession laws is that Spanish laws do not allow for total free disposal of assets.
In the UK, and many other countries, it is normal practise to leave all of your assets to a spouse. In these countries it is no problem to do so, and your spouse will receive 100% of your wealth, property and any other assets.
However, in Spain, there are strict restrictions placed on wills. Under Spanish law, you must leave a certain percentage of your estate to your relatives. So, two thirds of your total estate must go to your children, spouse or parents. The other third can go to whoever you wish.
If I write a Spanish Will, is the Will from my home country void?
No, a Spanish will is just for the assets that you have in Spain. We advise our clients to make one will in their home country and one in Spain. This means that you can reap the benefits from having a Spanish will, but still have the terms in your original will in place.
Regardless of whether you are a Spanish resident or not, the law states that inheritance taxes in Spain apply to both. So, anyone inheriting an asset in Spain must pay this tax.
How are inheritance taxes paid in Spain?
Beneficiaries have six months after a death to pay inheritance taxes. They can ask for an extension of another 6 months, during the first 5 months. It is also possible to split the payments of inheritance tax over 5 years.
Can my inheritors incur penalties for late payment of inheritance tax?
Yes, beneficiaries can be liable to pay a penalty of between 5-20% of the tax for late payments if they have not paid within six months. If the inheritance is in the form of cash in a Spanish bank account, the bank account can be frozen until the tax is paid.
How will my beneficiaries save money by making a Spanish Will?
In order for someone to receive their Spanish inheritance, that was left in a foreign will, and pay the applicable taxes as an expat – they must have a document which is known as Grant Probate. This document will only be required if the deceased did not have a Spanish will.
This document usually takes six months to get. As we have explained above, the Spanish tax authorities begin to charge penalties for late payment of inheritance tax at 6 months. Meaning your inheritors will most likely end up paying late penalties.
So, if you have a Spanish will you can bypass this problem for your beneficiaries as they will not require a Grant Probate. Saving them time and money by avoiding late penalties.
As a bonus, beneficiaries will also save money by not having to translate the will from your home country or have it approved by a Spanish notary!
What if I don’t make a Spanish Will, what will the process be for executing a foreign testament for Spanish assets?
For foreign wills to be executed in Spain, it must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator and approved by a notary. These are both additional expenses.
The documents required will be:
- NIE number.
- The original will (translated).
- A Certificate of Legal Compliance – this is a cert that explains the legal process in your home country.
- A Grant Probate – (£1,200).
- Plus, all the general documents needed to accept a will in Spain (below).
What are the general documents required to accept a Will in Spain?
- A copy of the last will and testament.
- Original death certificate.
- Life insurance certificate.
- A document from the Last Wills Registry which states that there is such a will for the deceased and who was the notary that signed it.
Can I use the succession laws in my home country for my Spanish Will?
Yes, as a non-resident in Spain you are able to use the inheritance laws from your own home country when making a Spanish will. You do not have to follow the Spanish law.
Are there different types of Spanish Wills?
Yes, there are 3 different types of Wills in Spain.
Open Will: An open will is signed by three witnesses and a notary. The notary will keep the original and a copy will be sent to the general registry in Madrid.
Closed Will: With a closed will, the contents are only known by a testator, the notary and a lawyer.
Holographic Will: Is one where the testator writes it themselves. It must be signed on every page and have witnesses to declare it.
Over to you...
Apply online for a Spanish Will with HomeFinance Spain
Our team of professionals can help you with making a will in Spain.
If you would like to use our comprehensive will writing service, please get in touch today by filing the form provided or call us on (0034) 96 682 11 72.