Have you ever wondered what happens if, for example, a person dies without a partner, has no known children, grandchildren or close relatives and, after his or her death, leaves a house and a savings account?
Well, in Spain, when a person without a will and without possible heirs dies, that is, without a partner, children, parents or grandchildren, and the person was the owner of one or more properties, a notice is published in the Official State Publication (BOE) to try to locate the heirs; however, the reality is that almost nobody reads the BOE and many inheritances remain deserted or without heirs. In these cases, the legitimate heir to these assets will be the State or the reign Government, as appropriate.
When it comes to highly profitable inheritances, companies are often involved, who see these events as a business opportunity and devote themselves to locating potential heirs to inheritances without a will, especially if the inheritance is large and has few debts. These companies normally charge 20% of the estate to be received by the heir and in recent years their activity has been experiencing great growth.
To avoid this and the stress for the potential heirs and the costs associated with this procedure, we recommend that our clients sign a will, saying today what they want for tomorrow and above all how they want their assets to be distributed.
Why would anyone refuse an inheritance?
Another case in which the State becomes the heir is that of inheritances in which all the relatives of the deceased or heirs designated in the will relinquish the inheritance. There are many reasons to refuse an inheritance, but the most frequent are the lack of liquidity of the heirs to pay the inheritance taxes, and also the existence of debts of the deceased that are part of the inheritance.
In these cases, the State also becomes the heir and by law is obliged to auction the assets and allocate “one part to charitable institutions, social organizations or entities of the municipality of the deceased, another part to institutions of the same type, but of provincial scope and another part to amortize State debt”.
However, it is not always necessary to renounce inheritance, as the different region Communities now establish not only high tax allowances but also the possibility of deferring inheritance taxes. Before renouncing a possible inheritance, do not hesitate to contact our experts in the field so that they can advise you and you can make the best decision depending on your situation.