By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
3rd of January 2018
Ideally foreigners should make two wills; one in their home country ruling on their national assets and a second Spanish will drawn up in Spain which will rule exclusively on their Spanish estate.
Our law firm can draft you a Spanish will from €150 (plus VAT). More on this service: Will Service.
This blog post is an excerpt from my original article of the 3rd September 2009.
1. A Spanish will affects only your Spanish estate.
2. Drawing up a Spanish will help your heirs mitigate their tax bill. There’s a deadline of 6 months from the time of the testator’s demise to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax (IHT). Late payment of IHT attracts surcharges, penalties and delay interests. A Spanish will cuts through the red tape streamlining the succession procedure so tax is paid on time within the deadline (without attracting penalties and interests on top).
3. Drawing up a Spanish will saves both money and hassle. If you only make an English will, your beneficiaries will have to follow a Grant of Probate in the United Kingdom (over £1,200). You'll need to translate into Spanish by a sworn translator all legal documents, notarise them and affix to each of them the Apostille of The Hague Convention.
All this greatly increases the expenses for your beneficiaries, as well as significantly delaying the whole procedure of transferring your Spanish estate which will attract surcharges, penalties and delay interests (point two above). However, if you make a Spanish will, the above becomes redundant.
4. Spanish wills are stored safely at no extra charge. On making a Spanish will, you will be given only a “copia simple” (simple copy) or “copia autorizada”. The original is stored by the Notary in his files for record. Should you lose your copy, don’t panic. Moreover, all Spanish wills' details are safely stored at Madrid’s Central Registry of Last Wills. One can always request a copy and if you believe you are a beneficiary, they will let you know before which Notary it was witnessed.
5. Spanish wills drawn up before a Notary public add security. Making a will is a personal act. A Notary is a highly qualified law professional who witnesses the signing of the will. He will highlight any incorrection or illegality.
6. The content of a Spanish will is governed by your own national laws. This means that you are not constrained by Spain’s forced heirship rules. Additionally, if you are of British or Irish citizenship, you have free testamentary disposition in Spain. This means you can make a will exactly the same as you would in the U.K. or in Ireland, albeit with all the additional advantages for your loved ones that I’ve highlighted above.
7. Spanish wills can be worded in English. Spanish wills can be drafted in double barrel, English-Spanish, for your peace of mind. So you know fully, at all times, what you are signing at a Notary Public.
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Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in inheritance, conveyancing, taxation and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. Please contact us for a free initial consultation. You can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone on (+34) 951 894 675 or by completing our contact form.
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Please note the information provided in this blog post is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice. This article may be posted freely in websites or other social media so long as the author is duly credited. Plagiarizing, whether in whole or in part, this article without crediting the author may result in criminal prosecution. VOV.
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