If you have property in Spain you will want to have arrangements in place so that everything goes smoothly when you die. It's a difficult subject, but failing to look ahead can leave your inheritors with unexpected inheritance tax bills. Nobody is really prepared for a bereavement but unfortunately all legalities need to be completed within a certain time limit.
No automatic transfer
In Spain there is no transfer of ownership from deceased to inheritor automatically upon death. On the contrary, in Spain it is necessary for a new title deed to be signed when property is handed over. This needs to be done within six months from the date of death.
The Spanish inheritance process involves a new Title Deed for the Spanish assets, in the inheritor’s name, being signed in the presence of a Public Spanish Notary. This can cause difficulties where inheritors are under the impression that they automatically inherit the property and can sell it on when they wish.
The same process applies if there are two owners or more. If one person dies then their share of the property must be transferred correctly and the title deed changed. This will not take place automatically.
Selling the property
If the process of transferring names on the Title Deed has not taken place, this can cause difficulties when trying to sell the property. Names have to be altered at the Land Registry and this can only happen when debts have been settled and inheritance tax declared.
Only once the names have been changed on the Title Deed can the inheritor take possession of the property and subsequently sell it, if they wish. The inheritance deed has to be signed before the Notary and needs registering in the Land Registry before the sale can go through.
Keep inheritors informed
At Ábaco Advisers we have seen the problems that this can cause families. It is very important that if you are intending to bequeath property here in Spain that you are clear about what the implications are for those who will inherit from you.
Your inheritors will also need to understand what the procedure is and if there will be any money to pay prior to the transfer taking place. Some people prefer the option of donating their property in their lifetime.
We can help you
Whatever stage you might be in thinking about inheritance, we can help you. If you have already made a will in Spain, have a will in your home country or haven't yet made a will at all, our consultation can clarify the implications and help you decide what to do next, if anything.
A personalised assessment of your inheritance includes:
- Introduction and overview of inheritance procedures in Spain
- Clarification of any actions you have taken so far e.g. making a Spanish will or considering a funeral plan.
- Explanation of what receiving your inheritance will mean for your inheritors
- Consideration of any other options there may be including donating your assets
- Information folder including useful information for your inheritors how to proceed and what to have prepared
- Discussion of any next steps that might be needed
It can be a difficult conversation to hold. However, making sure that your inheritors know what to expect and are prepared will give you very valuable peace of mind too.
We strongly advise people who haven’t yet made their plans to contact us to put their wishes in motion. Doing this now can avoid further complications at what is a difficult enough time as it is.