Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Whilst it is always important to have a Will, this is particularly important if you are an expat resident in Spain, or even if you just have a holiday home there.
The Brussels IV Regulation that came into force in August 2015 was intended to simplify matters between member states when making Wills and dealing with succession issues, giving a person the option to choose which law is applied to their estate on death (either their law of nationality, or the law of the country in which they are habitually resident).
Even though the UK never opted into the Brussels IV Regulation, many people are unaware that it will still affect UK nationals with assets in Regulation states – Spain being one of them. Before 2015, the rules of your nationality applied. After August 2015, for those habitually resident in Spain, for example, Spanish law would come into force, unless otherwise stipulated in your Will.
It is not commonly known that Spain is a country with forced heirship laws on succession, meaning that you must allocate a percentage of your estate to direct descendants. It is therefore important to have your UK Will reviewed if you do not have a Spanish Will, and to have a clause added to your UK Will to the effect that the law of England and Wales will apply. If this is done now, Brexit will not affect your Will as the UK never signed up to the Brussels IV Regulation and there is nothing to say that the law chosen to be applied on death has to be that of a member state – it could of course be that of any other state.
If you are an expat in Spain, or you are considering becoming a Spanish citizen, think carefully.
Spanish succession law is very different from that of England and Wales. A Spanish national must abide by forced heirship as referred to above, meaning that you must leave at least one third of your estate to your children in equal shares. You must also leave a further third of your estate to your children, but this does not have to be equally distributed. The final third of your estate can be left to whomever you wish. If these rules were not adhered to in Spain, your Will would be null and void.
It is of course known in the UK that if, for example, you fall out with a child, you can leave them out of your Will – but in Spain this cannot happen. If you do not have children, you must leave a percentage of your estate to your surviving parents. If you do not have surviving parents, you must leave a percentage to your spouse, and if you have no spouse then collateral relatives have the right to inherit.
Rather than adding a clause to your UK Will confirming that you wish to abide by the law of England and Wales, you may opt to make a separate Will in Spain to deal with your Spanish assets whilst maintaining a Will in the UK to deal with your UK assets. This could save potentially considerable delays in the administration of a UK Will in Spain. It is a very good idea for your Spanish and UK lawyers to work together to ensure that the Wills do not revoke one another.
As noted above, it is very important to avoid dying without a Will if you have Spanish assets as this would make the Spanish probate process very complicated and time-consuming. If you have assets in Spain it is important to ensure that your current Will covers your Spanish assets.
A further consequence of Brexit may well be that expats will have to pay a higher rate of inheritance tax than they do currently. At the moment EU citizens all pay the same level of inheritance tax, but this may change after Brexit. Brexit is only going to make matters more complicated, largely because so much is still unknown.
These notes are intended for information purposes. They are not a full statement of the law and should not be relied on as specific legal advice.
Preparing to sell your Launceston property
Staying safer in video meetings
Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air
Property Market Re-Opens in England
Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ
Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?
Had an Accident in Someone's Home?
Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?
Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs
Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.