In the acquisition of property in Spain by a foreign or simply holding Spanish bank accounts in your name, you need to plan the future succession and take into account recent legal changes in the scope of Community law that directly affect international succession in these cases.
The EU Regulation No 650/2012 aims to simplify the processing of cross-border inheritances when such a foreign dies in Spain, holding properties in Spain and / or abroad and their heirs residing in another country of the European Union.
The most important amendments introduced and come into force in August 2015 (except Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland) are:
– Unit of the estate: no differentiation between movable and immovable property.
– The principle of nationality is abandoned: the law of succession will be that corresponding to the law of the State of habitual residence of the deceased at the time of his death.
– The person may decide in his/her will that the succession must be governed by the law of the State of his/her nationality.
The aim is to avoid disputes over inheritance laws applicable to the deceased when residing in a country other than their country of origin.
Regulation produces a drastic change for the Spanish law and foreign residents in Spain, as it involves abandon the principle of nationality and shall apply to the succession law of the place of the last residence of the deceased.
Therefore a foreign who dies with last habitual residence in Spain, Spanish law will be applied to his/her legacy, unless the person has chosen in his testament which state law will be applicable.
It is therefore highly recommendable for foreign residents in Spain the review and planning of your will and the protection of your property and heirs.
The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice.
Gemma Perez Boye