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Right of Testator in Spain to Disinherit Beneficiary

The Provincial High Court in Cantabria has ruled that a father had the right to disinherit his daughter as a result of the poor conditions of health and hygiene to which the latter exposed the former when living together in the same house.

The decision of the court of first instance had rejected the daughter’s claim against being disinherited and stated that it was unnecessary for the father to allege any specific act or incident but that he was required to provide the motive or reason for disinheritance. That court further decided that it had been proven that the father did in fact suffer treatment by the daughter that could be described as inconsiderate and which had an inevitable psychological impact.

Accordingly, the sale of an apartment owned by the daughter of an apartment belonging to her mother who had passed away without consulting the father or her withdrawing of €10,000 from the a joint bank account hours before her mother’s death justified the disinheritance. The father had a life interest in the main home in which he lived together with the daughter and her family. The home was in a state of very poor hygiene and the daughter even had a number of animals in the home.

As a result the Provincial High Court concluded that the earlier decision had been correct and that as a result of unjustified  acts and omissions by the daughter, the father lived in dreadful conditions for a human being with multiple official complaints being made to the relevant public bodies – all of which fulfilled the requirements of ‘maltrato de obra’ or ‘physical assault or abuse’ – that the father was entitled legally to disinherit his daughter.

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Contested Will

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1Who is this Service for?

Contesting a Will can be fraught with difficulty - not to mention emotion - given that an individual may likely be asserting a right to inherit against another family member. The ability to contest a Will depends very much on the circumstances of the case and the applicable law.

This becomes more complex once again when considered in an international context. There may be conflicting jurisprudence as to which laws apply, never mind what those laws actually state.

Often the grounds for varying a Will would relate to undue influence on the testator by a beneficiary named in the Will though in European jurisdictions, a child of the deceased may have a right to a portion of the estate in a system known as forced heirs, and any failure to inherit the minimum portion assigned by law, could give rise to a right to contest the Will.

2 What does this service consist of?

  • Initial consultation with a specialist lawyer to determine your rights under national and/or international law to contest a Will
  • Communication with other interested parties and relevant authorities on your behalf to have the terms of the Will changed
  • Representation in legal proceedings where required to ensure a variation of the terms of the Will and the registration of rightful interests in the estate
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