IF you are the owner of a property or have any other assets in Spain such as a bank account, investments, car, etc, there is a good reason to have a Spanish Will drafted irrespective of your nationality as there are many additional advantages to having a Spanish Will.
Some of these advantages are:
1.) The existence of a Spanish Will is a cost effective means of simplifying the handling of your affairs. Many people rely upon their national Wills or even worse, on their national Intestacy rules where there is no Will at all to deal with their Spanish estate.
Unfortunately however, without a Spanish Will no action can be taken in Spain until the Grant of Probate of your English estate or the equivalent in another countries) has been finalised and this can take a very long time, there will be more expenses in translation and implementing a foreign Will in Spain for your Spanish assets.
2.) As per the European Regulation 650/2012 you can chose your national law to apply to your succession. By making a Will you will be able to choose your national law to apply for your inheritance in Spain, and that is good, as you can avoid Spanish law governing your Spanish inheritance, as the Spanish law forces you to leave the majority of the assets (2/3) to descendants without being able for example to leave them to your spouse.
3.) A closely related topic is Inheritance Tax. Having a Spanish Will does allow you to fulfil your tax obligation in the six months, as in accordance with Spanish law you have to pay the IHT in Spain. Without a Spanish Will it is possible that it could take more than six months to obtain the Grant of Probate, so, making a Spanish Will could save you from paying interest on the outstanding taxes.
Also, with a proper Will explanation and tax strategy, you can minimise the future Inheritance Tax for your beneficiaries. As per our last articles, and bearing in mind the last court precedents of the Spanish Supreme Court, even after Brexit, the UK citizen will be able to enjoy the same inheritance tax benefits like the residents in Spain, so, bearing in mind the new courts’ interpretation, a Spanish Will could be done minimising the IHT, without the need of setting up companies or other IHT tax advice that long terms are not tax efficient.
4.) Sometimes (due to the amount of the estate etc) when a UK citizen passes away there is NO need to get Probate as long as he has a valid Spanish Will BUT if this person does not have a Spanish Will then normally the Spanish authorities will need to see the Grant of Probate before dealing with the Spanish estate.
5.) You can also use the Spanish Will to name a Spanish Albacea, equivalent to the executor, this could help your Will to be executed properly and to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled, and will simplify the whole process especially if the heirs do not reside in Spain.
If you want advice about making a Spanish Will and how to minimise IHT in Spain, contact us and we will help you.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but conveys information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
C/Diana 19, 2º D, 03700 Denia (Alicante)
Spain Tel. +34 966-426-185 Fax +34 965-784-471
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