Making a Will in Spain

Making-a-Will-in-SpainThere are many things in life that we do not want to think about and always put off, and making a “Will” is one of them. If you have moved to Spain and purchased a house or have any other assets here, it is advisable to have a Spanish will drawn up. This will make the distribution of your Spanish assets much easier and will prevent time consuming legal problems for your heirs.

If you have assets in more than one country, consider having wills in each country to avoid complicated translations, certifications and procedures for your family after your death. Some countries such as England go as far as stating that foreign (Spanish) assets should be disposed of according to the law of where the assets are located. Therefore, you are better off stating the conditions of the distribution of your assets yourself and not leaving it in the hands of the Spanish government.

Spain has a very strict inheritance law which is why it is important to consult with a lawyer (abogado); he can compose the will on your behalf. The document that the lawyer draws up will have to be notarized and must then be registered in the Central Wills Registry (“Registro Central de Última Voluntad”) in Madrid.

The costs are very reasonable, under 200 euros for a straightforward estate. Of course, the more assets and special instructions, the higher the fee will be. There are many English speaking lawyers throughout Spain and can easily be found in most cities.

You will save many hassles for your family by making a Spanish will since the inheritance laws are so intricate and difficult to interpret. Spaniards are subjected to laws governing compulsory heirs. They have to leave one third equally among their children, another third is to be left to their children in any division, the last third can be divided as seen fit.

If you believe your will might be challenged by your children you should make sure that the will is as specific as possible and even consider transferring the titles on property before your death to avoid any interference in your wishes.

Secret wills and hand written wills are also accepted as proof of the deceased wishes as long as the document is in a sealed envelope, notarized and registered in Madrid. Should someone in your family die without, to your knowledge, leaving a will, you can check with the will registry in Madrid to see if there is a registration number that could lead you to the notary office where it would be on file.

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