DO I NEED A SPANISH WILL?
Since setting up office in 1992, I have been surprised by the ammount of people who have come to me to ask whether it is convenient to make a will in Spain concerning their Spanish assets.
The answer to this is most definitely yes.
In England if you do not make a will, then the law has rules, which will determine the distribution of your assets. These rules could mean that your assets are distributed in a way very different from what you would have liked.
In Spain the situation is the same, with an additional factor. Your heirs will have to deal with a foreign language and legal system. All the more reasons to leave everything as organised as possible.
Some people include their Spanish assets in their English will. This is legally binding, but to obtain probate in Spain, it will be necessary for the will to be translated and legalised. This is a long and costly procedure.
My advice on the subject is to have two separate wills, one in England for your English assets and one in Spain for your Spanish assets. Drawing up a will in Spain does not take long and is not expensive, and will definitely save your heirs a lot of time, problems and money. Your Lawyer will draw up a rough draft, and then he will make an appointment at the notary to sign the final document. One copy is sent by the notary to the central register in Madrid. He will hold on to the original copy. You will be given a copy that I suggest you inform your heirs and lawyer in England about, and then put it in the bottom draw, with the peace of mind of knowing that everything is taken care of.
A correctly drawn up will can also save a lot of inheritance tax.
Michael J. Davies.
Michael Davies, is a Spanish solicitor with offices in Mojacar, member of the panel of recommend solicitors of Abbey National (Gibraltar) Ltd. and of the Institute of Foreign Property Owners.,member 67228 of Madrid Law Society and 1748of Almerķa Law Society.