Wills in Spain, they are important!
Recently, I had an interesting case relating to Wills in Spain.
One of my clients inherited a property in Spain from her husband. However, despite my advice her husband never made a Spanish Will and he sadly died a month ago. This meant that my client (the deceased’s wife) was potentially facing a long and expensive process to sort matters out. Understandably, she was terrified – and this was on top of her distress at losing her husband.
Worse still, my client had a Spanish buyer who wished to purchase her property as soon as possible!
Well, you can imagine how she felt, particularly as she was struggling to pay all the Inheritance costs.
Fortunately, her husband had an English Will, so I started the Probate process in the High Court of Justice in the UK. Once this was completed I received a certificate and the English Will of my client’s husband. This allowed me to arrange all the necessary paperwork in Spain to sign the Inheritance Deed.
The Inheritance Deed was duly signed by my client and I then sent this to the Spanish Land Registry in the hope that the Inheritance Deed would be registered immediately.
However, there was a problem – which was the last thing that my client needed as now her Spanish buyers were becoming very anxious and the situation had become extremely stressful for her!
The problem was that her husband had appointed two of his sons as ‘ Executors and Trustees’ of his will and the Spanish Registrar wanted them to ratify the Inheritance Deed. Obviously, I spoke to the Registrar about the problem but he would not allow the Inheritance Deed to be registered without a signed agreement from the two sons. This was despite the sons not being heirs – but clearly the Registrar was not up to date with English law.
So, I had to prepare a Prestación de Consentimiento which is a document that can be signed by Executors and Trustees that they agree to a certain action. This document I sent to the UK and it was signed by the two sons and returned to me. I then took this to the Spanish Land Registry which allowed the Inheritance Deed to be registered.
Of course, once the Spanish Inheritance Deed had been registered my client could then sell her house to her Spanish buyers and release badly needed funds.
The key points I should make is that:
- Even if you have an English Will – make a Spanish Will as well.
- Make sure that you always speak to a Registrar before deciding whether to sign anything or not – as the Registrar is the person who decides and not all Registrars ask for the same documentation!
Follow the points above and you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress and expense when you least need to have any further problems.
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