Expats in Spain urged to make Spanish wills as well as UK wills

Published:  24 Mar at 6 PM
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Uncertainty about the necessity of a Spanish will as well as a British will covering assets still held in the UK is causing controversy in Spain’s expat retirement havens.

Given that a good number of expats living in destinations all over the world don’t have a will in either their home of their host countries, confusion over the issue in Spain might not hit the headlines as a major issue. However, Spanish inheritance and property disposal laws differ from their UK equivalents, especially in cases of complicated bequests.

Quite simply, without a Spanish will being in place, there is no guarantee that bequests of Spanish assets and property will be honoured in the way the deceased person wished. High expenses and long delays are the norm in such cases due to the difference in inheritance laws and the fact that the executers will be working from a UK will, the tenets of which may well be unacceptable in Spain.

UK wills should deal only with assets remaining in the UK, whilst Spanish wills should be written according to Spanish law and only include assets held in Spain. Should either will need to be changed, both wills should be updated at the same time to ensure that they don’t conflict.

It’s also important to make sure that, if a UK will is changed, the Spanish document is unaffected even of there are no changes required. Stating on the UK will that any updates are not relevant to the Spanish will and will not cause it to be revoked is the best idea.

In Spain’s many expat communities there are those who offer to prepare Spanish wills for expats. It’s best to decline all such offers and have your will prepared by a recommended, qualified Spanish lawyer who will also register the document at Madrid’s Central Wills Registry.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Phil wrote 6 years ago:

Speaking from experience, this is an excellent post - we fought for many years when my grandfather passed away.

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