You finally have a property in Spain! The day has come when the title to the property is yours, you have the keys in your hands and you can bring all your belongings, but what to do now?
For now, you can enjoy and move to your new home, at least for some time, then you will have to think about a procedure called “drawing up of wills” that takes care of the fate of your property once you are gone.
It is important that your house has a will, however, it is not a urgent task so you can do it some time after your purchase.
What is a will and why should you have one?
A will is a voluntary declaration in which a person expresses his will over all his assets once he has died. It is a way that his heirs can fulfill his wishes even if he is gone.
In general, the heirs are the children and spouse of the deceased, but can include other people if the owner declares it.
When the owner is no longer alive, the beneficiaries must meet and each will be given their share of the property or it will be agreed what to do with a common good so that all obtain a profit.
It is important that you make a will to avoid problems with family and friends and to facilitate the transfer of your assets.
How to draw up a will in Spain?
Foreigners residing in Spain do not need to draw up a will in Spanish, however, they are required to have this document long before they suffer from an illness or reach a certain age, in fact, it is requested a few months after purchase.
When you die, your property will be under the scope of Spanish inheritance laws and in the event that your death is unexpected, the Law of Obligatory Heirs will apply.
A foreign will can create problems because it will have to be notarized and translated. This process is slow and expensive, in addition, you will have to wait a long time for the issuance of probate and if they exceed more than six months there may be fines.
How can a lawyer help you?
A Spanish lawyer will be able to draw up your will in Spanish and will be able to advise you on Spanish inheritance laws, which is convenient if you are a foreigner and do not have much knowledge about this.
If you hire a lawyer specialized in this area, they can give you information about the three types of wills that exist: open, closed and holographic. Each one has a specific format and adjusts to different needs.
In case you already have a will before this purchase you can revoke it by writing a new one or ask a notary to cancel it.
If at the time of death there are two wills of Spanish origin, the legal bodies of the country will dictate that the newest will is the one that is valid.
In Spanish wills you do not need an executor, that is, a person designated to take care of your assets after your death and ensure that your last will is fulfilled. If you don’t have someone, a notary will take care of that.
Inherited property taxes
Every time an heir receives a property, he must pay the government a certain amount of taxes and these vary depending on the relationship he has with the deceased. If the heir is not a natural child or is the spouse, the taxes will be higher.
Spanish inheritance laws are different from one region to another because the competent bodies formulate them in accordance with the Spanish Civil Code and the local regulations.
On the other hand, regional inheritance laws will apply only after you have lived in Spain for five years and in the event that your property falls under the Law of Obligatory Heirs, it will be decided how you should liquidate your patrimony; that is, how much percentage it will have each family member involved.
How does the Law work for non-residents?
As you are a foreign resident, you are obliged to follow the Spanish Inheritance Law and this regulation will not apply to any asset if the will declares that the laws of nationality of origin must be applied during the execution.
Spanish property law will consider you the property owner only when your name appears on the property title; that is, once you have paid for the property and the transfer has concluded.
Thus, the only way to secure your property is by registering it in Spain, because Spanish law refuses to recognize other properties, such as trusts, equal ownership, among others.
You have enough time to draw up your will, so think carefully about what you want to do with your assets once you die. As in any legal procedure, it is best to consult with a lawyer.