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Spanish Probate

Please note that the information herein is of a general nature and you should not act or refrain from acting on it without professional advice on the specific facts of your case. No liability is accepted by the author or Sykes Anderson Perry Limited in respect of this article. Law is a complex subject and the above is a basic outline only and is intended only as a general guide

The process of winding up an estate in Spain is very different to that here in England.

One of the main differences is that in Spain the responsibility of winding up of the estate will be of the beneficiaries as the role of the Spanish executors (albacea) is more restricted than in England and are not frequently used.

Here you will find a summary of the steps that are necessary in order to wind up an estate.

Death certificate.

This should be the starting point. The certificate will have to be legalized with the Apostille of The Hague and translated by a Spanish sworn translator.

Central Wills Registry Certificate

Wills executed in Spain before notary publics are registered in a Central Wills Registry. A certificate must be obtained confirming whether the deceased granted or not a will in Spain. If the deceased granted a will the certificate will contain the name of the notary and the date in which it was granted. If this is the case it will be necessary to request a notarial copy directly to the notary

Land registry search

To ascertain if the deceased had property registered in Spain. The land registry entries for the property will be required to execute the deed of Inheritance.

NIE Number ( Número de Identificación de Extranjeros)

It is similar to a tax code for non-nationals. It will be requested by the notary public when executing the Deed of Inheritance and also to deal with the payment of Spanish IHT. It can be obtained at a Spanish police station or alternatively grant a power of attorney in favour of an agent to obtain it on your behalf

Power of attorney

These can be very useful if the beneficiaries are not living in Spain and have a lawyer to deal with the formalities. Powers of attorney must be executed in Spanish form and these will have to be signed before a notary public or at the Spanish Consulate.

Banks

It will be necessary to obtain from the banks where the deceased held bank accounts or investments the balance at the date of death

Valuation of the property

The Spanish Revenue does not require the market value for probate purposes. The minimum value to be declared is the rateable value which can be obtained from the local authorities. Careful consideration should be placed with the declared value as this will have an impact on the Capital Gains Tax when the property is disposed.

Deed of Inheritance

It is a public Deed that will be executed by the beneficiaries before the notary public. The Deed contains information of the deceased, beneficiaries and the assets and liabilities. If the deceased died intestate and is a Spanish national the process is different.

Notary Publics

They are public officers and their intervention is required to execute public Deeds. It will not be possible to register a Deed at the Land registry if this has not been executed before a notary public.

The notary public fees are charged according to a tariff,

Taxes

Inheritance tax

This is paid by the beneficiaries and not by the estate. The rate of tax and the exemptions available vary in each region in which the country is divided. The Deed will be sent to the tax authorities for assessment and payment of the taxes. The Deed will be returned stamped by the Revenue. Once the Deed is stamped it will be possible for the beneficiaries to release any funds from the banks or financial institutions.

Local plusvalia tax

It is charged by the local town hall where the property is registered. The tax is applied over the deemed increase in value of the land where the property is located since the last transfer.

Land registry

Once the taxes are paid it will be possible to register the property at the land registry. Registration at the land registry will be necessary if the beneficiaries are planning on selling the property.

October 2018
Alvaro Aznar Azcárate
Solicitor and Spanish Abogado
Sykes Anderson Perry Limited