This is Why you Should Setup a Will in Spain

If you own a property in Spain you might want to consider setting up a Spanish will. Read more about how this will benefit both you and your heirs.

Knowing that your home will be managed according to your final wishes after you pass, provides a sense of security. Still, it might be both more efficient and cost-effective to set up a Spanish will.

The inheritance settlement based on a Spanish will typically takes 4-6 months. The reason is that a English will has to be translated and become legalized in Spain. The process also involves a lot of documentation, which will need to be translated, certified and legalized.

An open will is the most common type. This covers all of your properties, interests and duties in Spain, unless you have specified that the will should only cover one specific property. If you already own, or are planning to acquire more assets in Spain, this is more practical as you will not need to write several wills.

A valid Spanish will is also valid in England. However, it might be wise to limit the content to your values in Spain, so that none of the content of the Spanish will counteracts the content of the English will.

How do you set up a Spanish will?

The person who is setting up the will, called the testator, has to sign an open will witnessed by a notary who is present. A notary is an impartial person with legal competence within civil law. The job of the notary is to attest to the testator ́s identity, their sanity at the time of signing, and that the will is set up entirely voluntarily.

If the testator does not speak the same language as the notary, the testator needs to bring a translator. For foreign testators, the will has to be written in both Spanish and the person ́s language (such as English). When everything is settled, the notary will keep the original document and notify the central Spanish will registry (called Registro Central de Ultima Voluntad). The testator keeps a certified copy.

Spanish Wills executed in Spain

Navarro Simón will prepare a draft Will, in English and Spanish, in accordance with your instructions and carry out the necessary formalities to ensure that the Will is correctly legalised and registered with the Spanish Wills Registry.

Our services include:

  • Drafting of your Will in Spanish and providing a translation to English, providing you with a draft copy for approval.
  • Final drafting of your Will.
  • Sourcing or arranging a suitable Notary Public in the area within which you live in orderthat you can attend to sign your Will. If the Notary Public is happy with the document and translation you will sign your Will in front of them at their offices. Only one witness is required to execute a Will in Spain and which can be a Notary Public.
  • The Notary Public will then attend to the registration of the Spanish Will at the Spanish Wills Registry.

You will receive the original copy of the Will following registration, we will provide you with an emailed copy of the executed document and a further copy will be stored at our offices.

Spanish Will

Where there is a Will an estate can be distributed in accordance with the terms of that Will.

When Spanish Wills are executed a copy is registered at the Spanish Wills Registry in Madrid and an application must be made to request a certificate showing the latest valid Will before any administration of the estate can begin. To make the application a copy of the Death Certificate must be provided. If the Death Certificate is in English then a translation into Spanish is required.

Basically, once heirs and beneficiaries have been established, administration of the estate can begin. A valuation of the estate of the deceased is obtained, including property, Bank accounts, cash, vehicles etc.

The distribution of the estate ́s assets to heirs/beneficiaries takes place in a public document known as Deed of Adjudication of Inheritance which is executed before the Spanish notary public and registered before the relevant Public Registries to register the change of ownership. In certain circumstances an affidavit of the decease ́s succession law is required to demonstrate that the distribution of the estate has not contravened the decease ́s applicable succession law.

Heirs and beneficiaries who are foreigners are required to apply for an NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). This acts as a tax and identification number and is used for all transactions that involved the Spanish Tax Office and Public Registries. The NIE number is mandatory for all foreigners with financial, professional or social affairs in Spain regardless of whether they are resident or non-resident in Spain.

The NIE number can be applied for at the outset and, should the heirs/beneficiaries be unable to travel to Spain, all matters relating to the process can be dealt with by the lawyer or appointed person by way a Power of Attorney.

Back to list