Inheritances in Spain

It is disconcerting how everything related to foreigners in Spain, especially inheritances, is getting more and more complicated. We think that this should be exactly the opposite. To the control obsession by the Spanish administration, we should add the lack of will for simplifying the procedures, especially those having to do with European citizens. The reality should be totally the opposite because we are all supposed to be in the European Community and there should be fewer differences between us.

Inheritances are not an exception to this tendency established by the Spanish administration. At least, the European Justice tried recently to eliminate the differences between European citizens and Spanish citizens regarding the inheritance tax.

Nowadays, a foreigner’s inheritance in Spain has to deal with a new threat. The Notaries are now required to have a document equal to the Spanish Last Wills Certificate in order to allocate and authorize the inheritance. This document should be requested and issued in the national country of the decedent. However, this is totally absurd because most of the times this document doesn’t exist in the national country. The Spanish Last Wills Certificate is a document proving which was the last Will authorized by the decent. In Spain, every Will is recorded in the Central Will Registry, so we can find out which was the last Will and which Notary has it. So if the national country doesn’t have a Wills Registry what can we do? The Spanish Notary will ask you for a Certificate issued by a Public Notary in your country saying that, in the UK for example, the Last Wills Certificate doesn’t exist.

In Spain there is a tendency to try to find out the absolute truth and avoid fraud in case that there are two Wills, one in Spain and one in the national country, and in case the Will of the national country amends the Spanish Will and affects the Spanish Estate (normally, each Will will only concern the Estate/Inheritance of the country where the Will has been authorized).

To sum up, in order to avoid the remote possibility of fraud, which will be one in 100.000 Wills, they have to complicate the other 99.999 inheritances. And they are forgetting that in those fraud cases, the heirs can take legal action to amend any fraudulent inheritance done by any other heirs.

We hope that the requirement of getting this document will not become a general tendency and hope that the Spanish administration decides to make easier all these  procedures which are becoming more and more frequent in Spain.