Dear Mr Baos, do I really need to have a Spanish Will? It seems to me like all my friends already have one but it had never occurred to me until I heard them continuously talking in acronyms language about IHT, NIE etc. I am a British citizen living in Spain for the past 15 years and proud owner of a property in Beniarbeig, Where do I start? Can I buy a form like I did in the UK for my English Will? Can I do it by mail? Will my beneficiaries need an NIE? And most important to me; who can I assign as executor in Spain? Thank you.
Thank you for your informative query.
Firstly I would like to say YES, you need to have a Spanish Will drafted as soon as possible; in fact you may need it more than some other people as you are owner of a property in Spain.
Secondly I would like to say that making a Will in Spain is much easier than it seems. You can start by booking an appointment with a Lawyer of your choice, preferably one with wide expertise in Spanish Inheritance Tax (IHT) in order to minimize IHT to its maximum. You should tell your Lawyer what you have in mind for your Spanish assets and he should be able to tell you what you are able to do in accordance to Spanish Law as a British national.
Contrary to English Wills (where the figure of the Codicil exists) the Spanish Will can only be changed by making a new Will therefore it is extremely important to make sure it is drafted impeccably the first (and hopefully) only time.
All Spanish Wills drafted in Spain** need to be signed in front of a Spanish Public Notary therefore your Lawyer will instruct someone in his team to book an appointment at the Notary office that will accommodate your needs. If you were owner of a property in Spain living abroad you could also have your Spanish Will drafted in front of a Public Notary and send it to your Lawyer in Spain to have it register in The Central Will Registry.
The beneficiaries appointed by you in your Will do not need to have an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) when you make the Will, but will definitely need an NIE in order to be able to inherit (hopefully many years from now) so we encourage our clients, whenever possible to ask their future heirs (children etc.) to apply for an NIE when they come to Spain on holiday or in front of the Spanish Consulate or Embassy in their residing country.
NIE in 1 Day can assist you and your heirs obtaining your NIEs quickly and efficiently. Contact them on www.NIEin1day.com or email@example.com for details of their service.
One of the last articles published by our firm last year was in reference to the Spanish Executor (Albacea) however I will make a brief summary in order to answer your questions.
It is always a good idea to name a Spanish Executor (Albacea) as in principle, it does not cause any harm to the heirs or legatees and in fact it will ease implementations of the necessary procedures to enable beneficiaries to accept the inheritance. Need less to say that Albacea should be an expert in Spanish Inheritance Law.
Contrary to the English Executor, the Spanish Albacea will only have the faculties and powers set forth by the testator in his Spanish Will. In those cases where the testator does not specify any faculties then the assigned Spanish Albacea will have the powers and faculties listed on article 902 of the Spanish Civil Code i.e. preserving and safekeeping the assets, obtaining the necessary certifications, meet bequest, drafting inventory of the estate and so on.
To be taken into consideration is the fact that the Spanish Albacea will be extremely useful in those cases where the heirs do not know the applicable Law, or live outside of Spain thus he should be someone of your trust and confidence and when possible, expert or knowledgeable in this area of Law.
Unlike the English Will you can delimit the faculties given to the Albacea and if your heirs feel capable of dealing directly with the inheritance they can do so without even contacting the appointed Albacea.
We advise you to have your Spanish Will drafted as soon as possible or at least book an appointed with the Lawyer of your choice to received some advice about the possible consequences of not having a Will in Spain. We will be more than please do assist you.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.
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White & Baos
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
Tel: 966 426 185
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