Have You Inherited A House In Spain? A Guide To Probate In Spain

Publication Date22 April 2021
SubjectTax, Family and Matrimonial, Inheritance Tax, Wills/ Intestacy/ Estate Planning
Law FirmGiambrone & Partners
AuthorMr Graziano Cecchetti

The potential one million Spanish residential properties that the Spanish government estimates are owned by British citizens form part of the fixed assets each British citizen who owns a second home in Spain and forms part of the owner's estate which will, in due course, be passed to their heirs and beneficiaries. Owners of real estate in Spain should give serious consideration, not only as to whom they wish to be their heirs, but how best they can minimise the costs, procedures and tax liability for their heirs and benefactors.

Graziano Cecchetti, a partner in the Barcelona office, remarked "a beneficiary of a Spanish inheritance has a choice as to whether to accept or decline the inheritance. Should there be any debts against the estate, such as a loan or a mortgage attached to a property, by accepting the estate is also means you are accepting the debt. If you decline the inheritance and many beneficiaries take this option if the estate has a number of debts attached to it, rejecting your inheritance will mean it automatically reverts to the next in line to inherit." He further commented "there is a six-month time-frame by which Spanish inheritance tax must be paid and depending on whether the deceased died intestate or had made a Spanish or English will create a greater or lesser urgency to resolving the situation. Expert Spanish legal guidance and advice will considerably assist the heirs and beneficiaries."

As a beneficiary of a Spanish property, you will need to establish whether the deceased had drafted a will, if so, whether the will is an English will or a Spanish will. You may be required to produce documents as evidence of entitlement to your inheritance which may be drafted in English, such as Grants of Probate, death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc., In order for the documents to be used as legal admission in Spain they will need to be legalised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the translations of the English documents will also need to be translated and certified by an official translator.

The heirs and beneficiaries cannot receive their inheritance until all the Spanish inheritance tax that is due is paid, together with any debts. Spanish inheritance tax is due within six months of the death.

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