If you are a British buyer of a property in Spain and you have already made a will in the UK, technically you do not need to make a will in Spain, as your UK will is recognised by the Spanish authorities. However, the practical benefits of making a Spanish will for your property in Spain are in reality many.
- If you have no Spanish will the executors of your English will incur the delays and expenses of officially translating your English will and the cost of paying Spanish lawyers in Spain to get the Spanish authorities to recognise your English will in Spain. This makes the whole process more expensive and time consuming for your remaining family.
- If you do not have a UK will the Spanish authorities will apply Spanish law to the distribution of your property in Spain. Unlike in England where you can leave your property to whoever you wish in your will, in Spain the law sets out rules for distribution e.g. if you have children you must leave 2 thirds of the property to them.
- Also there are set rules in Spain relating to the inheritance tax to be paid by those who are left all or part of the Spanish property, and spouses and children have certain exempt allowances from the full Spanish inheritance tax. So if you set out clearly in a Spanish will who is going to get what share of the property, you can, by leaving it to close relatives, reduce the potential Spanish inheritance tax.
This as you can appreciate is a basic explanation of the legal position. British buyers of property in Spain should really take professional advice from British Solicitors and Spanish lawyers before they leave the UK on how they are going to own the Spanish property. This is because English buyers of properties in Spain are governed by the laws of both Britain and Spain in relation to their potential inheritance tax liabilities.
With professional advice those tax liabilities along with the legal red tape can be minimised, therefore having a well drafted British and Spanish will is advisable for most buyers of properties in Spain.