Is a Spanish will compulsory?
A Spanish will is not compulsory. However by having a Spanish will you can mitigate Spanish inheritance tax, select your beneficiaries, save costs when your heirs deal with the Spanish estate and make the transition of the Spanish assets to your heirs easier in what can be a stressful time.
Will I receive the signed Spanish will?
No you will not. The notary holds onto the original signed Spanish will signed by you and issues you with a certified first copy of the Spanish will. We will also store a copy of the draft Spanish will for you.
Is there a central wills registry?
Yes there is. Once you have signed a Spanish will, the notary or us if you have signed a Spanish will abroad, will notify the Registry that you have signed a Spanish will on x date before x notary and a copy/original of the Spanish will has to be shown to the Registry.
Will I need a translator to sign the Spanish will?
If you are signing the Spanish will before a notary in Spain and you do not speak Spanish then you will need a translator. If we or any of our colleagues located across the country can sign the Spanish will with you, then we will. If not we will liaise with the notary and ask them to recommend a translator and you will have to pay their costs on the day.
Can my home country will (not a Spanish will) deal with the Spanish assets?
Yes it can. However it will not be as simple to deal with the Spanish estate when you pass and it will be more costly then if you had a Spanish will. Further there are useful clauses that are placed in a Spanish will that may not be in your home country will.
Can I sign a Spanish will in my home country?
Generally you can. We will prepare your Spanish will for you in an A4 double column format in English & Spanish. The will has to be signed before a notary and then registered with the Civil Registry in Spain which we can arrange. The signing process has to be comply with your local laws for signing Spanish wills. For example in the United Kingdom a Spanish will has to be signed before a notary in the presence of two independent witnesses and the witnesses will also have to sign the Spanish will.
How can I change my Spanish will?
In effect to change a Spanish will you have to sign a new Spanish will.
Can I revoke my Spanish will with my home country will?
Yes you can. If you wish to revoke your Spanish will we would suggest that you specifically refer to the Spanish will and the date that it was signed and state that your new will shall deal with the Spanish assets.
I have a later will that revokes all wills, does that mean my Spanish will is revoked?
Yes it does. If a later will revokes a previous Spanish will then the Spanish will is no longer valid.
What is a revocation clause?
This is a clause in which you state you revoke all former wills and testamentary dispositions made by you so that the new will you are signing is the one that will be of effect. A revoked will is no longer valid. When updating your home country will it is important to inform your lawyer that you have assets in Spain.
Can I have two wills? My home country will and a Spanish will?
Yes. In fact we would recommend that you have a Spanish will for your Spanish assets and a home country will for home country assets and that they work with each other.
Can I mention jewellery and personal items in my Spanish will?
Generally, we would recommend that personal items are dealt with in a letter of wishes.
Can I change my Spanish will with a codicil?
No, you cannot. In order to change your Spanish will you will need to sign a new one.
I have heard that I can ask for the Laws of England & Wales to apply to the distribution of my Spanish assets. Is that correct?
Yes it is correct, in that EU Regulation 650 allows nationals to choose the law of their country to distribute the Spanish estate because under Spanish law assets go two thirds to the children and only one third can be freely disposed. Whereas, under the laws of the UK you can choose who inherits your Spanish assets and they do not necessarily have to be left to the children as it does under Spanish law.
I am Scottish, can I leave my Spanish assets according to Scottish law?
Yes you can. In the Spanish will we would insert that you choose Scottish law to apply to the distribution of your assets.
Do I have to appoint Spanish executors to handle my Spanish estate?
This is not essential as in effect the heirs & beneficiaries will come forward and handle the Spanish estate and inheritance.
What happens if I do not have a Spanish will?
If you die without a will this is known as an intestacy. The inheritance will be governed by the laws of your country. Before the Spanish estate can be inherited, you will have to go through a procedure in your home country to obtain a certificate from a court confirming you can manage the Spanish inheritance. This process will delay you accessing Spanish bank accounts or in dealing with the Spanish estate. Once you have received the document from your home country authorising you to deal with the Spanish estate, this document has to be stamped with the Apostile of the Hague and officially translated. Not having a Spanish will results in delays to managing the Spanish estate, additional costs being incurred and the laws of your country decide who inherits the Spanish assets, not you.
Why do I need a lasting power of attorney for Spain
A lasting power of attorney is strongly advisable as we get older. It will authorise your trusted attorney to manage your affairs if it becomes difficult for you to do so. Your attorney will be able to open, close bank accounts, sell property, cancel rental agreements and enter into contracts on your behalf for example for a nursing home. For more information lasting power of attorney page.
I have granted a lasting power of attorney in my home country do I need a separate one for Spain
Yes it is advisable to have a separate one for Spain as the procedure for appointing an attorney to manage your affairs in Spain is different to that of your home country. Further the Spanish lasting power of attorney is drafted in Spanish and will be accepted by the Spanish authorities. Not having one can result in delays to managing your Spanish affairs.
If I have a Spanish will why do I need a letter of wishes?
We would recommend that a letter of wishes deals with personal items such as jewellery, watches and items that are precious to you and you set out in the letter who you wish to leave them to. These items can be distributed fairly quickly after someone passes whereas items such as houses, cars, bank accounts and shares have to wait until the Spanish inheritance is completed.
Can I leave what I want to to anyone?
In a letter of wishes you can leave your personal items to whoever you like. In a Spanish will you can leave your main Spanish assets according to the laws of your country. For example under the laws of the United Kingdom, assets can generally be left to whoever the testator wishes. Under the laws of Spain, two thirds of assets have to be left to the children and only one third can be left freely to whoever the testator wishes.
Will my loved ones have to pay inheritance tax?
Much will depend on the value of the assets, where they are located in Spain and the relationship with the heirs as blood relatives tend to have more generous tax allowances in Spain when inheriting compared to non blood relatives. If you would like to know how much Spanish inheritance tax will be payable, we can calculate this for you.
I am a benefactor of Spanish Assets, what do I do?
We have a dedicated service available for people who have recently inherited, more details can be found on www.inheritingspanishassets.com
Any other questions?
If you have any other questions regarding inheritance planning , making a Spanish will, establishing a power of attorney or writing a letter of wishes in Spain then please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.