According to article 667 of the Spanish Civil Code, a will is an act by which a person disposes of, after his or her death, of all or part of his or her assets.
It is highly advisable for residents in Spain, and even for all those who, without being residents, own a property in Spain, to sign a will before a Spanish notary and decide the destination of their assets after their death, determining the person or persons they wish to acquire these assets located in Spain, as well as certain rights and obligations.
The signing of a will also allows the testator to appoint an executor, who will be the person designated to administer and look after his or her assets, and to carry out the testator’s entire will once he or she has passed away. All of this must be perfectly drafted and documented when the will is made.
That is why, when signing a will, it is very important to have the advice of lawyers and tax experts, as good legal and tax planning is essential if the aim is to avoid problems and cumbersome procedures for the heirs, as well as to obtain the greatest possible tax savings.
It is important to note that wills must be signed in person, i.e. signing by power of attorney is not an option. If you are considering signing a will, our tax specialists and lawyers will help you with your estate planning and assist you with the signing of the will in front of a notary.
Grieving the death of a family member comes with many formalities, which must be carried out correctly to avoid incurring unnecessary problems or additional expenses.
If the death occurs in Spain, the first step is to obtain a medical death certificate, which is free of charge and issued by the doctor who attended the person at the time of death.
Secondly, when the deceased has Spanish nationality, it will be necessary to register the death in the Spanish Civil Registry, and after registration, the Civil Registry will issue the Death Certificate.
If the Death Certificate was issued in another country and is not written in Spanish, it must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator.
From 15 days after the death, a Certificate of Last Wills can be obtained, which is an official document that certifies whether a person has a will signed in Spain, on what date it was signed and before which Spanish notary. It is also advisable to request a Life Insurance Certificate, as this certificate will not inform whether the deceased person had life or accident insurance in Spain that could give rise to the payment of compensation.
If the deceased had an open will signed before a notary, the next step is to obtain an authorised copy of the will, and if there is no signed will, then a Declaration of Heirs “ab intestato” must be made to determine who the legal heirs are.
In the event that the deceased had a Will signed in another country, it will need to be legalised and translated into Spanish by an official translator.
Once all these initial formalities have been completed, the next step is to sign the Declaration of Heirs, normally before a notary, and to settle the inheritance taxes.
Although there is no deadline for accepting or rejecting the inheritance, it is important to know that there is a deadline for settling the inheritance taxes, and this deadline is six months from the date of death.
Furthermore, in the case of bank accounts, when the bank becomes aware of the death of the account holder, it will automatically block the account or deposit until the heirs accredit their legitimacy and the settlement of the inheritance taxes.
If you have an inheritance pending, do not hesitate to contact imont legal so that they can advise you on all matters relating to the payment of taxes, allowances and exemptions, registration of the new owner/s, etc.