By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
Marbella-based lawyer Raymond Nesbitt explains the advantages of making a Spanish will.
Seven advantages of making a Spanish will
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.
Recent European legislation (Brussels IV) has rendered some old Spanish wills made by British void. In such cases it is highly recommended a Lawyer drafts a new one to safeguard your heirs’ interests. Any will witnessed before the 17th of August 2015 should be revised by a Lawyer to ensure it is fully compliant.
1. A Spanish will affects only your Spanish estate. It does not affect any assets or preclude any prior will witnessed in your home country.
2. Drawing up a Spanish will help your heirs mitigate their tax bill. There’s a deadline of 6 months as 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 seal 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. 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 a 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 a British or Irish national, you have free testamentary disposition in Spain. Meaning you can make a will exactly the same as you would in the United Kingdom or in the Republic of Ireland, albeit with all the additional advantages for your loved ones that I’ve highlighted above.
7. A Spanish will can be worded in English. Spanish wills can be drafted in double barrel, English-Spanish, so you know at all times what you are signing at a Notary public.
Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers is a law firm specialized in inheritance, conveyancing, taxation and litigation. You can contact them by e-mail at [email protected], by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or at www.larrainnesbittabogados.com
About Raymundo: after completing his dual law degree in Madrid (ICADE) in 2003 Raymundo went on to work for prestigious Spanish and English law firms in Spain before moving to the UK for several years to work for a British multinational. He is a prolific writer of legal & financial articles in English, with well over 140 articles published and widely used in the Spanish real estate sector. Raymundo now runs his own law practice in Marbella, where he advises local and foreign clients on all legal matters with a focus on conveyancing and non-resident taxation. He is regularly quoted by the international press as a reliable source in his field of expertise.
Article originally published at Larrain Nesbitt Lawyers: Seven Advantages of making a Spanish will 2.009 © Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt. All rights reserved.