When someone close to you dies the last thing you want to have to think about are the legal arrangements. Unfortunately, however great the pain might be, time is already ticking on the inheritance process.
Many people who have a property interest in Spain are not aware that all the legalities must be completed within a set time frame. Nor are they aware that transfer of ownership is not automatic.
So, for example, in some other countries when a person dies the property is automatically passed on to the next in line, unless the will states differently. In Spain, there is no such transfer of ownership. Instead the inheritance process requires that the property is officially handed over and a new title deed is signed.
The deed must be signed in the name of the inheritor and the inheritance process needs to be completed within six months of the date of death. Inheritance tax must be declared within this time frame before the new title deed can be registered at the land registry.
The good news is that in many cases there is hardly any tax to pay. It depends upon your individual circumstances, but if you are a close relative and in some parts of the country there can be nothing to pay at all.
However, if the process is delayed and inheritance tax has not been declared within the six months then a penalty fee is applied along with late payment interest on the tax. The exact amount this will be depends upon how late the tax declaration form is. Every additional three months means that an extra 5% is applied. This increases up to the maximum of 20% which is payable if there is a delay of a year. After this, additional interest rates apply.
The process need not be burdensome if done in time and, as mentioned before, the tax to pay may be much less than you think. Our inheritance experts will provide any advice you may need and will help to make sure that the process is smooth and does not add to the pain of losing a loved one.