Steps required for inheritance in Spain

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Steps Required for Inheritance in Spain
Steps Required for Inheritance in Spain Photo credit: Flickr

DEAR Mr Blanco, I am an English lady living in Spain and recently my English husband passed away. Could you please explain the necessary steps to follow to obtain the inheritance here in Spain. Yours, Mrs A Ritchie

Dear Mrs Ritchie, I am sorry for your loss. I have outlined the steps required for the inheritance below:

1. Obtaining necessary documents
A. The death certificate of the deceased
The death certificate is the document that proves that the person has actually died, and can be requested in person, by ordinary mail or online.
B. The certificate of the General Register of Acts of Last Will (El certificado del Registro General de Actos de ÚltimaVoluntad). El certificado del Registro General de Actos de ÚltimaVoluntad is a document that verifies if the deceased had ever made a valid will. (This could have been through a notary, or written by the deceased, both would be valid).
This certificate will be fundamental because it is not possible to proceed to the partition of the inheritance without knowing the wishes of the deceased.
C. The Certificate of the Insurance Registry with death cover
The last document to be obtained in advance is the Certificate of the Insurance Registry with death cover. This indicates whether the deceased person had a valid life insurance contract. This will need to be taken into account because in the case of life insurance, the amounts corresponding to the insurer can be claimed by the heirs.

2. Testament or declaration of heirs
This step is linked to El certificado del Registro General de Actos de ÚltimaVoluntad explained in the previous section, since it is that document that will indicate if the deceased granted a will or not. In the case there is none, it will be necessary to make a declaration of heirs.
• If there IS a valid will, the Certificate will show the details of the notary where it was performed, it will be necessary to contact the notary or entrusted office to request the deceased’s will.
• If in fact there is NO valid will, in your particular case (being of English nationality) you must attach the Probate (translated with the apostille of The Hague) and a certificate of English law. We recommend that you contact a lawyer to help you.

3. Inventory of Goods
This is a process by which all property owned by the deceased person is investigated and assessed accordingly. The form and value of a person’s property can vary greatly, but here are some tips on typical properties: Estate Household items Bank products Mobile property.

Debts: Finally, debts must also be listed and valued. The heirs are obliged to take care of the debts and may even renounce the inheritance if they consider that there are more liabilities than assets, they are very important assets to include and evaluate correctly in the inventory.

4. Partition of the inheritance
The partition of the inheritance is probably the most complicated document that is included in the management procedures, because it is where the decision is expressed on what assets belong to each of the heirs. This is why it may be advisable to consult a lawyer before carrying it out, who can write it and report the rights to each of the interested heirs.

5. Taxes
There are two Taxes related to the inheritance and that must be paid: the Inheritance Tax and the Tax on the Increase of the Value of Land of Urban Nature, commonly known as “Plusvalia”.
The inheritance tax must be declared in any inheritance, but it will not always have to be paid on everything. There are many exemptions and bonuses that can result in the amounts to be paid not being excessive. Inheritance taxes are the Inheritance Tax and the Goodwill Tax.
The ‘Plusvalia’ tax must be paid in cases where there is a property in the inventory of the estate. Their amounts are usually larger and depend on the original purchase price of the property and the time in which it has been owned.

Please contact us for specific information. Our work requires study of the corresponding documentation to give you the best legal advice.

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