Foreign citizens inheriting a Spanish one must comply with the country’s succession and inheritance laws as they are different from other European countries’ legislations. It also important to know that the distribution of assets in case of death of a Spanish citizen depends on whether the deceased has left a will or not. No matter the situation, it is recommended to seek legal counsel from a Spanish law firm.
Asset distribution in case of death is strictly connected to the marital status of the deceased and whether they had children or not in case they did not leave a will. Dying without leaving a will is also known as dying intestate. In this case, the distribution of assets among inheritors will be done in accordance with the Inheritance and Succession Law in Spain.
If the deceased was married and had children the assets will be divided as it follows:
If the deceased was not married the estate will be left to other surviving family members such as parents or siblings.
In the case of foreign citizens residing in Spain but drafting wills according to the inheritance laws in their home countries, they must know that under EU Directive No. 650/2012 their estate will be divided in accordance with the Spanish law. Our lawyers in Spain can offer detailed information about the division of assets in case of intestacy.
The Spanish Civil Code provides for marriage under the community property regime which allows a surviving spouse in the case of intestate death of the other spouse to inherit half the property. In this case, the other half of the property must be divided into 3 equal parts which will be divided among children or other living relatives.
In any of the cases above, the inheritors must sign a declaration of acceptance before entering in possession of the estate. The acceptance must be done by signing a private or a public document before a Spanish public notary.
For complete information about the Inheritance and Succession Law, do not hesitate to contact our Spanish attorneys.
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