Doing a will in Spain

All British Expats should do a will in Spain, its called a (testamento), irrespective of how large or small their assets ,each person should make a separate will. If a foreigner dies without a will (intestate) in Spain, their estate may be automatically disposed of under Spanish law and the law regarding compulsory heirs applied.

A foreigner resident in Spain is usually permitted to dispose of their Spanish assets according to the law of their home country. A foreigner who has lived in Spain for a long time may find it necessary to create a legal domicile in their home country for the purpose of making a will.

A will made by a foreigner regarding Spanish assets isn’t invalidated because it doesn’t bequeath property in accordance with Spanish law, as Spanish law isn’t usually applied to foreigners and the disposal of property (buildings or land) in Spain is governed by the law of the deceased’s home country unless there is a dispute among the beneficiaries, in which case Spanish law is applied.

Law of Obligatory Heirs

Under Spanish law, a surviving spouse retains all assets acquired before marriage, half the assets acquired during the marriage and all personal gifts or inheritance which have come directly to the spouse.

The remaining assets must be disposed of under the Law of obligatory Heirs, Ley de Herederos Forzosos, which is as follows.

When a person dies leaving children, their estate is divided into three equal parts:

  • One third must be left to the children in equal parts
  • Another third must also be left to the children, but the testator decides how it is to be divided. A surviving spouse has a life interest in this second third and the children who inherit it cannot dispose of it freely until the surviving parent dies
  • The final third can be freely disposed of

If a child dies leaving children of their own, they automatically inherit their share. If the deceased has no children the surviving parents have a statutory right to one-third of the estate if they have a surviving spouse, or half of the estate if they don’t.

Costs.

Well British Expats are quoted very different prices from all over Spain and when i was first here 16 years ago i paid 400 euros for 2 wills and as i didnt speak Spanish then it was difficult and i think we paid too much.

Last year I made a new will here and went to a local Spanish lawyer here in Almeria and as my Spanish is ok now i explained what i wanted and tried to keep it very simple. I was told to go have a coffee and come back in 1 hour. I did and then went in to a notary in the same office to have it all signed and approved and this cost a total of 58 euros.. All done in 1 hour.

Now i know i did pay over the top all those years ago but that was probably because i couldn’t speak Spanish. My Spanish wife did hers too and it cost the same so take a spanish speaker with you to a local lawyer to get the best price.

Below see what the British Consulate says about making a will in Spain.

Have you paid too much?

More great tips and advice in my new books below…

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