Spanish Will Service

I have a property in Spain, do I need to have a will in place?

No. A will is a right everybody has, but it is not mandatory – nobody can be forced to have a will even if that person owns a property or has any other assets in Spain.

RDT Abogados does however strongly recommend that UK clients make a will to cover their assets in Spain because when a person passes away it is much easier, and eventually less costly, to deal with his estate if there´s a will in place.

It also ensures that there are no misunderstandings and the assets are divided and passed on in the way you intend.

Finally, drafting a will saves time for the executor and / or beneficiaries when the time comes to complete the inheritance process.

Please note that even if you do not own a property in Spain but you work and have a current account and, for instance, a car, you should grant a will to cover these assets.

Is the will in Spain similar to the English?

No, the English will is less formal than the Spanish equivalent; it can be granted in front of ordinary witnesses and is normally kept at the offices of the solicitor of the grantor.

The Spanish will by contrast is very formal and requires witnessing by a public Notary (who keeps a copy of the document in their official archive).

The notarised document is then submitted to the Ministry of Justice in Madrid for registration.

I live in Spain and I speak a fairly good Spanish, but I prefer to grant my will in English. Can I do that in Spain?

Yes, you can.

The way to do it is to ask for the assistance of a solicitor. RDT offers a dual language will drafting service, which helps clients who wish to leave a will drawn-up in English and Spanish.

Obviously, the wording and clauses are identical in both languages, with the English version in place so the grantor knows exactly what he´s declaring; and the Spanish version so the executor and solicitors in Spain can, eventually, open and execute the will.

I live in England. Do I have to go all the way to Spain just to grant my will and last testament?

No, you do not have to travel to Spain just to grant a will.

We can assist with drafting the dual language document to your specification and you can attend an appointment with a UK Notary to witness the document.

Once you have had the document Notarised you simply send it back to us and we will deal with the Spanish side of registering it with the Ministry of Justice in Madrid to ensure that all the legalities are observed and the will is lodged and will be valid when opened upon the passing of the grantor.

Will you help me with the content of the will?

We can give our clients indications and explanations of what the Spanish Law allows in a will and also comments on how the Spanish Law works in the matter, in general.

However, and suffice to say, we cannot advise on whom to name as beneficiary or similar. The will is by definition a strictly personal standing and decision on what to bequeath and to whom is for the will grantor alone to decide.

I have read about a Registry of wills in Spain. Is that so? Will you deal with it?

Yes, in Spain all wills which are validly granted are lodged in a Registry in Madrid, not the whole document but the full name of the grantor, the dates and the Notary who authorised the will.

This is to facilitate inheritors and potential beneficiaries of a will with knowing where to go when they receive the news that their relative or person close to them has passed away.

The services we provide related to granting wills include lodging the will in the Registry as explained above, and also giving you the certificates and references necessary for the moment when the will is to be executed.

Who will inherit my assets if I do not grant a will?

In the event that there is no will in Spain, the assets which belonged to the deceased will be automatically disposed of under the compulsory heirs system in Spanish law.

Under Spanish law, the surviving spouse is entitled to all of the assets acquired prior to marriage and half of the assets acquired during the marriage.

The remaining assets are subject to the compulsory heir’s law, which dictates that two thirds of the remaining assets are left to the children (although the surviving spouse has an interest in half of these assets).

The majority of our clients have limited assets in Spain. It is most common that the Spanish assets are limited to a property and bank account.

Will my estate go to the State if I don´t have a will in place?

It is a possibility, but it´s not very likely that that would happen. As it is explained in the point above, there are rules in place to distribute and allocate the estate to the beneficiaries, usually relatives of the deceased.

It is only likely to happen when there is not a will, and if there are no relatives, even then there are additional circumstances that would also have to be fulfilled.

RDT Abogados offer a fixed fee for will drafting and writing service, which includes an English translation of the document.

Once the will is drafted, it is necessary to sign the document in front of a Notary in the UK or Spain.

RDT Abogados can assist with locating a notary and making the appointment.

Contact us today for a no obligation quotation.

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