From a practical point of view and in order to save the inheritors work, time and money, it is advisable to draw up a Spanish Will.

The type of will we recommend is the open will that is drawn up by a lawyer and a notary. The will is then read aloud by the Notary and signed by the Notary and the testator. The originally signed will is then kept at the Notary and the testator also receives a copy.

The advantage of this is that will cannot be forged, and when it is to be used it is a legally valid document in Spain.

To be valid the testator must be over 18 years of age, and it has to be signed in front of Notary.

The last will of the testator must be in accordance with correspondent national Law. In the will the testator will choose the law to be applied which normally is the national one.

The rumours about the Spanish Government taking over properties in the case of no will are wrong. This can only happen in the case that there are no inheritors at all, and even thought is a very complicated process.

The will can be revoked. It can also be altered whenever the testator desires to. This can be done by drawing up a new will, as the old will then automatically be out of date (invalid) or the will can simply be revoked. A will is an individual document and cannot be done by more than one person (joint wills are not possible in Spain).


What is to be done in event of a death? We recommend the inheritors to contact a specialised lawyer who can inform you about the necessary steps to be taken in order to execute the will. One of the necessary documents is the original death certificate duly legalised and translated into Spanish.

Another important and necessary document is a Certificate of last will, which has to be applied for at the Central Register in Madrid. This document confirms that there is Spanish will, and when and where it was signed.

However if the Spanish will does not exist, then the inheritors have to present the acceptance of inheritance done in their Countries and/or letters of administration or Grant of Probate.


The Sentence of the European Court of Justice of the 3rd of September of 2014  has declare that the Spanish authorities cannot charge different rates of inheritance tax for residents and non-residents.

The Spanish legislation was discriminatory and there was no reason why inheritance tax should be charged at a higher rate for non-resident than for resident.

Non-residents who have been discriminated against by paying more tax than Resident/Spanish for inheritances or gifts of property are likely to be due a refund of the difference.

A new legislation approved by the Spanish Government on the 31st of December of 2014 due to that sentence.

According the New Law, the EU citizens non-residents in Spain will be treated as “residents” as per inheritance tax reductions. So, non-residents have the same rights as residents for reductions and taxes.

Still is discriminatory for the non EU citizens which will be applied the old law at higher rate.

From our point of view it will be possible to start a legal process to claim back the over-taxed payments from all those payers who were taxed with the previous system.

We provide a professional, convenient and competitively priced will writing and estate planning service for people who own properties or other assets anywhere in Spain.

Please contact us for any additional information or if you would like us to give you a cost estimate of your inheritance process.