Contact in Spain
Spain: +34 932 20 44 40
UK: 0800 098 8033
US: +1 415 651 8449

I am the named executor of a Will that contains assets in Spain – help!

Executor of a Will with Spanish Assets

When a relative or friend who has assets in Spain names you as the executor of their Will, at the relevant time, you will need to take responsibility for dealing with their assets in this country – paying off any debts and distributing the remaining estate to the beneficiaries.

Executors’ Responsibilities and Liability

This can be a complex, time-consuming and often stressful role, that few are truly adequately prepared for: you will need to make several trips to Spain to handle Spanish paperwork; of course it is likely that there will be different assets to deal with, potentially a significant tax liability, or potential disputes among beneficiaries.

An executor in Spain has the following main tasks:  take action to protect the assets of the estate, makes distributions of property to beneficiaries and pay any debts and taxes that are due.

If an executor mis-manages estate funds and this results in a loss for the beneficiaries, the executor can be found personally liable, so it is important to know that a person named as an executor does have the right to refuse the position. The executor will administer an estate and remains in charge until it is legally closed. After that, creditors and taxes, if any, must be paid and then the named beneficiaries are entitled to their share of what is left.

Delegated local expert’s Role

Given that this is a complex role, even for a native Spanish speaker, a sensible solution for anyone not fully conversant in Spanish would be to delegate this responsibility to a Spanish solicitor. A good Spanish solicitor will help you deal with formalities, advise on tax, assist with selling the assets and paying off the debts, dealing with distributions to beneficiaries, and preparing the estate accounts. Below we detail how this would function in practice.

  • According to Spanish legislation, a Spanish solicitor, when acting as a ‘delegated executor’ has the same responsibilities as the actual executor. The Spanish Civil Code specifies the following:
  • Oversee  the  security of the assets that form the deceased’s estate.
  • Ensure that the assets are maintained until the inventory has been made, taking out such insurance policies as would be prudent to protect them.
  • Provide notification to the beneficiaries that the succession process has started.
  • Determine that the distribution of the assets has been made and that there are sufficient assets to cover any debts owing by the estate of the deceased.

According to Article 1344 of the Spanish Civil Code when the executor fails to meet the obligations set out above, the executor will be responsible for any damages suffered by creditors. However executor obligations also relate to the beneficiaries who may also take legal measures against the executor if they fail to fulfil their obligations.

Power of Attorney to Manage an Inheritance in Spain

A ‘power of attorney’ is a legal document used to delegate decision-making authority to a third-party- and when dealing with an inheritance in Spain it will allow a solicitor to manage the following aspects of the process: financial matters, such as the ability to sign cheques, make deposits, pay bills, manage financial and business affairs, sell property, obtain insurance, manage investments and pay taxes.

In addition, powers of attorney can be drafted to meet your specific needs as every family’s situation is slightly unique. Some prefer to confer only specific areas of authority that they wish to delegate.

Quick Tips when Dealing with Assets

Some final thoughts on actions you may need to take if you are an executor of a Spanish Will:

Before proceeding to liquidate assets such as properties, it will be necessary to determine the value of the property via a local real estate agency. Note that a professional evaluation would require a technical architect who will charge a fee.  If the estate includes artwork and antiques, any valuation will require an evaluation by the relevant experts in those fields, who may well charge a fee for that service. It would also be advisable to insure the properties since anything could happen in the meantime such as theft or damage.

It is recommended to open a new bank account where the executor appears as the account-holder, until the moment of the liquidation of the properties which are part of the succession.

One of the responsibilities of an executor is to use the estate’s funds to pay for funeral and burial expenses.  The funeral home will also provide the executor with copies of the death certificate, which will be needed for several purposes, including closing financial accounts and canceling any state benefit payments.

You may be interested in the following service...

Client testimonials

"Our lawyer was efficient, clear, timely and exceptionally helpful. We would recommend this respectable solicitor who has excellent English. Trustworthiness is so important, thank you!"

Andrew Hales (Oct 23, 2019)

Inheritance

Available in the following locations: Alcoy, Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Benidorm, Cadiz, Castellon, Córdoba, El Campello, Estepona, Fuengirola, Gandia, Girona, Granada, Jaen, L`Eliana, La Manga del Mar Menor, Las Palmas, Los Alcázares, Los Cristianos, Madrid, Maspalomas, Mazarron, Murcia, Nerja, Orihuela Costa, Oviedo, Palma de Mallorca, Puerto del Rosario, Puzol, Seville, Torrevieja, Valencia, Velez Malaga, Vera, Vigo.

* If your local town is not listed, a lawyer from our nearest office will be happy to assist you.

Location

1Who is this Service for?

For those who need to arrange for an estate abroad to be transferred to beneficiaries under a Will or via intestacy

2What does this service consist of?

  • Assistance obtaining a legalised copy of the death certificate.
  • Arrange a legal copy of any existing will.
  • Verification of the existence of any life insurance policies.
  • Power of Attorney to avoid excessive travel costs
  • Inheritance Acceptance Deed drawn-up with the public notary.
  • Payment of Inheritance Tax at the office.
  • New titles in the inherited assets are inscribed in the relevant registry
  • Simultaneous sale or disposal of assets if required (please request quotation).

 

Support services

3Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

Why choose Advocate Abroad?

AdvocateAbroad.com Message
Established more than
10 years ago
Present in 20
European Countries
Over 30,000 client enquiries
successfully managed