SOMETIMES an inheritance can be complicated, and the attitude of one or more of the heirs could result in a long and expensive delay to the other beneficiaries if one does not wish to collaborate and reach an acceptable agreement.
Acceptance of the heritage
First of all, and in order to determine who the heirs are, they must accept the inheritance, either expressly or tacitly. That is, accept their position as an heir and confirm his or her wish to inherit.
Sometimes, it is not easy to get all of the heirs to accept the inheritance, as even if they do not want to renounce the inheritance, they may not wish to collaborate with the other heirs.
If this happens in Spain the person named as heir may be formally requested to confirm whether he or she wishes to accept the inheritance and this request will be presented by a Notary, in accordance with article 1005 of the Civil Code.
In such a request, the notary will give the heir 30 days to accept, repudiate or renounce the inheritance. If the requested party does not answer the notary within that deadline, it will be taken to be understood that he or she accepts the inheritance in a pure and simple way.
This is the first step, to determine whether the ‘difficult’ heir accepts or rejects the inheritance.
Partition or distribution of the estate (heritage)
On occasion, the simple acceptance of the inheritance is not enough, as it is possible that the heir, who has accepted the inheritance, creates problems so that no agreement for the distribution of the assets of the estate can be reached or they simply do not want to collaborate or even go to the notary to sign, etc.
If this is the case, then we will have the option of forcing the recalcitrant heirs to go before the courts to arrange the partition or distribution of the inheritance.
There is also the possibility of making such an apportionment via a public notary, who must call in all of the parties and appoint an accountant.
Writing Spanish Wills and Testaments
Sometimes, writing a Will in one particular form or another may make it more problematic for a difficult heir to block the succession process, so it could be that in your Will, you appoint an executor (which is not necessary in Spanish law), to distribute part of the assets in the form of legacy, etc.
You should also take into account that if the testator or testatrix is not a Spanish national, his or her national law may be applicable to the succession in Spain, in accordance with European Regulation 650/2012.
If you have problems with one of the heirs, or think you may have in the future and wish to receive expert legal advice in this area, contact us now and we will help you.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice it simply transmits 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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