Is it mandatory to make a Spanish Will? What are the advantages?


Foreigners who own real estate, bank accounts or any type of asset in Spainprobably have wondered occasionally about whether or not to make a will here in this country.

Our advice is that wherever goods and/or assets are located, in whichever country, it is advisable to make a will in each of those countries. This ensures that the distribution of your goods and /or assets; and the choice of heirs, is specified according to your wishes, thus avoiding any misunderstanding after death.

We would like to clarify, that although it is not compulsory to sign a will in Spain as the Spanish authorities do recognize the validity of foreign wills;the costs for the translation and legalization or apostle, (a requisite which is indispensable for the any document to be accepted in Spain), are very high compared to the relatively inexpensive costs for making a Spanish will now.

In the case where a person does not leave a will the assets of the deceased are not left to the state. In Spain an “intestate” succession is covered by the Spanish law which stipulates which relatives inherit and in what proportion.  In Spain bloodline takes precedence over partners or spouse. (E.g. the testator’s children have the right to inherit before their husband or wife).

All Spanish wills must always be signed in front of a Public Notary, who will certify the testator’s identity, status, state of mind, (suitability to sign a will) and will attest to his last wishes, all this is reflected in a written document signed by all parties. This Public Notary is responsible for notifying the General Registry in Madrid of the testator’s last will.

Once deceased, it is the heir/s that will be required to obtain a Certificate of Last Will and Testimony from the Central Will Registry in Madridwhere all of the wills that the deceased signed in Spain during their life are listed. The last will signed by the deceased is the only one that is valid.

Spanish law requires that a will is made following the formalities specified by Spanish law. To date the law applicable to the distribution of assets after death, (if nothing was mentioned in the will), would be that of the country of the nationality of the testator. However, from August 2015 the new law states that the law to be applied will now be that of the country of residence of the testator at the time of death. This change can be over ruled simply by stating in a new will which law you wish to take precedence. That is why we recommend that your will is checked and that if necessary a new will is signed specifying exactly which law should be applied in your case.

The process for preparing a will in Spain is relatively simple as long as you count on the advice of a lawyer who can advise and prepare the document.  It is best to do it in two columns, (one in English, and one in Spanish), so that the testator can understand the content of what is being signed. Another point that concerns some people is the cost, which actually is relatively cheap compared to other countries. In our case, we charge only 150 euro per person all inclusive, no extra charges, (including: meeting with clients and information gathering; translation, preparation of will, notary assistance, fees, and VAT.), so there`s no excuse not to call us now for your free no obligation appointment.

For a more detailed report on this topic or any other matter, or to discuss your personal circumstances in more detail, please contact us