During times of bereavement, your family and friends can go through an incredible amount of stress and pain. If you own property in Spain or any other assets in the country, such as money in Spanish bank accounts, it is highly recommended to make a Spanish will. By doing this you could save the beneficiaries of your estate from the time, money and distress that may be involved in administering an estate in Spain where no Spanish will exists.
Why should you make a Spanish will?
The most compelling reason to make a Spanish will is that it will greatly ease the administration of your estate upon your death, a job that the beneficiaries, perhaps your loved ones, will have to deal with. By making a Spanish will in relation to your Spanish assets, as opposed to any English or other will governing the succession of everything that you own, you will remove any cross-border uncertainty and unnecessary delays.
For a more detailed explanation of why it is a good idea to make a Spanish will if you own assets in Spain, please read our article - "Why you should make a Spanish will."
If you are not certain whether making a Spanish will is the right course of action for you, please read our article - "Do you really need a Spanish Will?"
The process of making a Spanish will
In order for your Spanish will to be valid it will need to be signed before a Notary. The usual process is for you to sign your will when you are in Spain before a Notary. The date on which you made your Spanish will and the Notary before whom you signed it will be recorded at the General Registry of Last Wills in Madrid. The original Will stays at the Notary’s office and you will also receive a copy. Upon your death anyone you have mentioned in your Spanish will can obtain a copy of the will, by first obtaining a certificate of last will from the General Registry of Last Wills and then applying to the corresponding Notary’s office for a certified copy of the original document.
The benefit of making a Spanish will is that the inheritance procedure is straightforward and less costly than if one relies on a foreign will. For more information on the inheritance procedures in Spain please take a look at our Succession and Probate in Spain pages.
For more detailed information on the process of making a Spanish will, please read our article "The Process of Making a Spanish Will."
What happens if you already have a UK will?
If you already have an English will and you own assets in Spain you should seek specialist advice as to whether your will is sufficient. In any event it will be sensible to have a separate Spanish will to deal with your assets in Spain.
If you do not have a UK will or a Spanish will that can make it very difficult to administer your estate and, more importantly, it means that your estate will not be distributed according to your wishes. For more information please read our article - "What happens if you do not make a Spanish will."
What happens if you are not able to travel to Spain to sign your Spanish will?
It is possible to sign your Spanish will in the presence of a Notary Public in the UK. The will must then be registered in Spain. If you need to sign a Spanish will and you are not able to travel to Spain please contact us and we will be pleased to advise you.
How will I be affected by the EU Succession Directive?
The EU Succession Directive, which came into force in August 2015, seeks to harmonise many aspects of succession law throughout Europe. Despite the claims of many Spanish lawyers, the fact that the Directive has come into force does not necessarily mean that you have to make a new will. For more information please see our article on the provisions of the Directive: "The EU Succession Directive and what it means for you".
How we can assist you
E&G Solicitors in Spain’s dedicated lawyers in the UK and Spain have extensive experience of drafting Spanish Wills that can operate alongside Wills made according to the laws of other jurisdictions. If you need to make a will in Spain please contact us for a free initial consultation. You can contact us by email at email@example.com, by telephone on 020 3478 1420 or by completing our contact form.
If you are a beneficiary of an estate because you are named in a Will, or believe that you are entitled to a share of the deceased’s estate, then we can also help you realise your interest and guide you through the inheritance process in Spain. Please take a look at our Succession and Probate in Spain pages, or contact us if you have any questions.