Inheritance law in Spain
Inheritance law in Spain is one of the things that can take foreigners living here by surprise. EU legislation relating to wills means that it is important that foreign residents are clear about what will happen to their property and possessions when they die.
When living in a country you were not born in but having assets in that country, it is always recommended to have a will should the unfortunate happen.
Differences between UK and Spanish Inheritance Laws
UK inheritance law means that when you make a will you can leave your inheritance to whoever you wish.
Spanish inheritance law means your children (if you have any) are the ‘legal beneficiaries’ and by law two-thirds of the total inheritance must go to them with only one-third being left at your discretion.
Don’t worry however, there is an EU law that states, if you are a resident and ‘habitually’ reside in Spain (lived in Spain continuously for the past 2 years) you can declare that you wish to use the inheritance law of your country of birth.
Who does this apply to?
If you are a British national living in Spain then this applies to you. There is no need for a non-resident to change their will if they own Spanish property. In this case, the inheritance laws of their own country automatically apply.
What should you do?
Make a will that clearly states which succession law you wish to invoke and contains the necessary clause.
Should you die without making a Will; Spanish law will be applied to your assets and possessions.
We recommend if you are resident and have assets in Spain, make a Will. All legal wills are notarized and translated to your native language before being sent to the central registry.