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The inheritance process is one of the most complex in Spain. Apart from being a difficult moment, on many occasions the formalities and, above all, the speed and the short period of time required by law to present all the necessary documentation, make it a complex and difficult process to understand.

If, in addition, there is a language barrier, this problem can be doubly complex.

Today we would like to talk to you about a specific event that we see quite often.

As we have told you many times, the number of foreigners who take up residence in Spain is increasing all the time. On many occasions they become the owners of the property in which they have decided to live their retirement or retirement.  Once they have passed away, the only legacy they leave to their descendants may be the property itself.

Could this pose an inheritance problem?

How should we proceed in the case that the only inheritance is a house?

In general, as in all inheritances, the most usual thing is that the inheritance is divided equally among the children, so that each one is assigned the proportional part of the house that remains in inheritance.

It can happen, and this is something that happens quite frequently, that there are disagreements with the proportional distribution of the property or its valuation and conflicts can arise.

One of the options that usually occurs is the sale of the house, if all the siblings agree, so that they receive the proportional shares that the law assigns to each one, once the taxes have been settled.

This requires the unanimous decision of all the heirs.

In cases where it happens that only one of the siblings wants to sell his or her share, perhaps the others do not want to because they have an emotional attachment or want to enjoy it, the priority to acquire that proportional part of the property belongs to the siblings, who will have a period of one month to execute the purchase.

What happens if no agreement is reached between the parties?

As we have seen, when the only inheritance is the distribution of a property, it is advisable that an agreement is reached between all the heirs in order to avoid possible problems and complications that often end up being resolved through the courts.

It is true that, in this case, it is a property that is difficult to divide and that one or more of the parties may have a real emotional attachment to it and therefore not want to part with it and, however, another of the parties does want to sell but the rest of the siblings do not have sufficient liquidity and it must finally be put up for sale.

At this point, and as we are talking about a generally indivisible asset, feasibility indicates that the best recourse is the economic division of the property. For this, the possibilities are as follows:

  • The property, in this case, is awarded to the parties interested in the maintenance of the property and the rest are economically compensated with the corresponding proportion after the appraisal.
  • Proceed to the total sale of the property and undertake the distribution among all the heirs in equal shares.

If a point is reached at which none of the parties can agree, not even with the two options mentioned above, the last sale option is a public auction.

It is true that this route can put an end to the conflict between siblings, but it is certainly the least favourable option from an economic point of view, as the sale price is usually well below the market price, in addition to the taxes and expenses incurred.


If you have any questions on any of these points, please do not hesitate to contact MAM Solicitors. Our team is made up of specialists in all areas of law, as well as being fully multilingual, so language will never be an added problem when communicating.

We have been trusted by our clients for over 30 years.