Unsurprisingly we at Sun Lawyers get loads of queries and clients over the subject of wills and inheritance tax in Spain.
The Spanish legal system is very different to what happens in other countries like the UK, and we have the experience to give you exactly THE advice you need over inheritance law and the taxes that are involved.
You must have a Spanish will if have any assets in Spain, and we recently got a letter from a gentleman about the sad story of his wife passing away and she had not made a Spanish will involving her property in this country.
That has sadly seen extra stress for him at a time when he does not need it, and has cost him thousands of euros to sort everything out.
Putting it simply, we advise everybody with assets in Spain to make a Spanish will.
This guarantees the inheritance procedure is straightforward and less costly, and we will arrange a consultation with you and any family members, in order to understand and help achieve your wishes.
Crucially, we like to personally meet with our clients to discuss their particular situation, as very few situations are exactly the same.
We understand this is a very sensitive subject and we want to make the whole process as easy as possible, so that you can carry on enjoying your life in Spain.
Inheritance law also varies from region to region, and we can sort out what has to be done in the Valencian region.
EU citizens living in Spain, as well as a number of non-EU countries, can now choose whether the law of their home country or their country of residence applies.
If a foreign resident dies without leaving a will or making an official declaration on which law they wish to apply, the law of the country where they resided for the last five years will apply.
If your estate is dealt with under Spanish inheritance law, forced heirship rules apply (known as the Law of Obligatory Heirs in Spain). This means there are restrictions on how you distribute your estate, as a certain percentage needs to be set aside for certain relatives.
If you die without leaving a Spanish will, the laws of intestate succession apply. In Spanish succession law, this means that the estate will be inherited by the following (taking into account the Law of Obligatory Heirs):-
* children of the deceased;
* if there are no children, the parents;
* if no children or parents, the surviving spouse;
* if there are none of these, then the next closest blood relatives (up to a fourth-grade limit in the family tree).
* If there are no legal beneficiaries from any of these groups, then Spanish state inherits the estate!
We again emphasise that you must get a Spanish will if you have property or other assets over here.
It will save time at a stressful period, and also allows the distribution of your assets to go to the people that you want to benefit, rather than potentially ending up in government coffers!
Making a Spanish will also allow us to sort out what levels of inheritance tax are likely to be paid, and we will look at ways of lowering your tax liability.
There are many ways of doing that, and that is why every single case is different and we treat everybody as individuals with a personal touch.
We have absolutely scratched the surface of this important subject, but our advice is to get a Spanish will if you have not got one already!
Sun Lawyers is a Spanish law firm with more than 30 years of experience and several offices across the Costa Blanca, with a team of English-speaking lawyers representing both residents and non-residents of Spain in all aspects of legal, fiscal and property law.