Organizing an inheritance in Spain is a difficult task for anyone, especially if you don’t know the Spanish law.
In this post we explain the basic steps to be followed when a non-resident or expat owning assets in Spain passes away. It is necessary to carry out a legal procedure in order to change the ownership of any of the deceased assets into the name of the heirs.
1st Step: Get an original death certificate. This official document is normally provided by the funeral company or it can also be obtained from the Civil Registry.
2nd Step: Get the original certificates of the last will (if any) signed by the deceased person, as well as the certificates of any life insurance policies in place.
With these certificates we can confirm if the deceased person had made a will in Spain. There are two possibilities:
- The existence of a will made in or outside of Spain. If this is this case the assets would be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased.
- Non-existence of a will. If the deceased had never made a will, the distribution of his assets would be made according to the laws of his nationality.
3rd Step: The heirs or relatives of the deceased would be required to sign an inheritance deed in front of a Spanish Public Notary in order to accept and distribute all the assets. Please, be aware that debts are also inherited, so it is important to confirm that the value of the assets is higher than any possible debts before accepting the inheritance.
4th Step: Filing Inheritance Tax Form 650 with the local Tax Office. For EU citizens these are allowances of up to 1.000.000 euros per heir (in case of direct relatives: spouse and children), so in most cases there wouldn’t be any inheritance tax to be paid. The inheritance taxes must be filed within 6 months from the date of the death.
5th Step: If the deceased owned real estate you should then take the inheritance title deeds to the Land Registry or if the deceased had funds, bank accounts or life insurance policies the Inheritance deeds should be taken to the corresponding banks /insurance companies.
We recommend hiring the professional services of a solicitor so this procedure can be carried out in an efficient and speedy manner.