Spanish Inheritance Tax
Spanish Inheritance InfoPoint
Below you will find answers to many common questions about Inheritance Law in Spain. Probably the first question everyone has is, ‘Where do I even start to deal with an inheritance’?
Well, essentially inheritance is a process in which you are seeking to transfer the title to the assets of a deceased person to their named or legally assigned beneficiaries.
This will require you to show proof of the death of the deceased, the identity of the beneficiaries, the existence of a will – if any, and the existence and value of assets. Finally you will need to show evidence of payment of any taxes before having legal title in assets transferred to their new owners.
How can I find out if a will exists?
The existence of a will in Spain can be confirmed by requesting the ‘Certificado de Registro General de Actos de Última Voluntad’ (RGAUV). The RGAUV certificate is issued by the central office for wills and testaments in Madrid and verifies the existence – or not – of a Spanish will.
Will I be contacted about an inheritance?
No. A notary, the official that typically registers a will created in Spain, will never contact prospective beneficiaries. It is in fact a responsibility of the beneficiaries themselves to contact the notary where the will was drawn-up to view the contents.
Must I travel to Spain to finalise the inheritance?
In most circumstances all of the procedures required to process an inheritance can be carried out at distance. Please contact us for more information.
Who qualifies for regional inheritance tax exemptions in Spain?
By Article 7 of the relevant Spanish statute (Ley de Impuestos sobre Sucesiones y Donaciones 1987) where the heir or beneficiary of assets located on Spanish territory is ordinarily resident outside Spain, then they are subject to the inheritance tax rules of the Spanish State rather than the regional rules.*
* Please note that following a judgment by the European Court, the Spanish government has passed into law Ley 26/2014, which came into force on January 1st, 2015. The new legislation provides that European Union citizens, ordinarily resident in another European country, may apply any deductions available to residents of the region in Spain in which their assets are located. Please view the regional tax deductions.
For non-EU citizens, the national level tax exemptions below apply.
I have been living in Spain for several years. The law of which state applies to how my assets are distributed?
While the subject of some confusion due to slightly conflicting court decisions in the UK and Spain it appears to be now settled that where anyone is domiciled in another country then the laws of that country shall apply (in the absence of an international treaty with Spain on the matter).
Accordingly, in this case, for those domiciled in the UK the succession laws of England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland shall apply depending on where domiciled.
Most people who have only a holiday home in Spain or have spent a relatively brief period of their lives in Spain will not be domiciled there. Under the succession laws of the UK a person may dispose of their assets freely without restriction (unlike Spain).
However, this does not mean that assets such as property, vehicles, cash etc are not subject to Spanish Inheritance Tax.
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