An important step for retiring in Spain: How to register a will in Spain
When deciding to retire in Spain, registering a will is an important step for expats. If you want your assets to be disposed of depending on your wishes, you need to register a will in Spain. If you fail to do that, when something unexpected happens, your assets will be divided according to the Spanish regulations instead of your wishes.
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1. What are the Spanish regulations on this issue?
Under Spanish law, a surviving spouse retains:
All assets acquired before marriage
Half the assets acquired during the marriage
All personal gifts or inheritance directly for the spouse
The remaining assets must be disposed of under the Law of Obligatory Heirs, as follows:
If the person that dies has children:
One third must be left to the children in equal parts
Another third must also be left to the children, but the testator decides how it is to be divided. The surviving spouse has an interest in this second third and the children who inherit this part cannot use it freely until the surviving parent dies.
The final third can be freely disposed of according to the wills
Additionally, If a child of the deceased parent has died
In the case of leaving his or her own children, the child will automatically inherit his or her share
If the child dies with no children:
the surviving parent has a right to one-third of the estate if the child died and has a surviving spouse
Or half of the estate if he or she doesn’t have a spouse
2. Can a surviving spouse or children inherit Spanish pensions when the pensioner dies?
Yes! In the event of the death of the pensioner, the surviving spouse and dependent child can claim up to 70% of the Spanish pension received before.
3. Three types of wills in Spain
Open will: An open will is the most chosen type. You don’t need a lawyer to prepare the open will, although it’s advisable to do so. However:
The contents require to be known to three witnesses, who can be of any nationality
Closed will: As the name indicated, the contents will need to remain secret. It requires:
A Spanish lawyer to supervise the process to ensure that the will complied with Spanish law
You must take the will to a notary who seals the envelope and signs it
Holographic will: A handwritten will. If written, it must be written, signed, dated, and drafted to ensure that your wishes can be clearly understood. On the death of the testator, it must be authenticated before a judge, which will delay the will's execution.
It’s important to know that if you own properties in different countries, it’s recommended to have a separate will for countries where you own property. Because when one person dies, the property will be dealt with directly according to the local laws. You also need to ensure that different wills do not contradict or invalidate one another.
4. Costs and procedures
If you appoint a Spanish lawyer to help with the process, his or her commission needs to be considered
Inheritance tax and tax allowance: set due to the inheritance amount. This tax needs to be paid within six months after the death. And it must be paid before getting the inheritance amount.
It’s recommended to pass the wills to the notaries before your death. You can take it there as soon as you wish. Because if you leave it after something unexpected happens, it would be a big aftermath for your loved ones to figure out.
Keep a copy of your will in a safe place and another copy with your lawyer.
After your death, your beneficiaries will get an original death certificate or an authorized copy. If you die in a foreign country, a foreign death certificate needed to be translated and notarized to be valid in Spain.
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This might be a seemingly sad topic for many people, as it involves the death of loved ones. We know that, although we all need to face death, there are ways to make it come as late as possible. One of the measures is to have trustworthy medical insurance. As the most responsible medical insurance company, we care for your everyday life, with highly valued medical insurance (well-designed for the very case of expats, which fulfills all the visa/NIE requirements) to assist you in whatever conditions.
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