Skip to main content

When a person is preparing to make a will, apart from being very aware of how to distribute it in the event that there is more than one heir, he or she must also be aware of the tax costs that this may entail for his or her successors.

This situation can be more complicated even in the case of having your assets distributed in more than one country, based on the legislation in force in each of them and the ability to dispose of such assets. For this, it is important what the laws described in your country of residence also dictate at the time of drafting and signing the document.

Which law governs the succession of assets and property?

In our case, when a person with residence in Spain prepares his will and the succession included in it, he must determine which will be his place of residence at that moment, as this fact will mark by which legislation the inheritance process will be directed.

As a rule, the governing law is the inheritance law of the country of residence of the person drawing up and signing the document. It is true that a person may declare his or her right to have his or her will governed by his or her national law, i.e. the law of his or her country of birth, but in this case the two laws cannot conflict or contradict each other.

There are cases in which the law to be applied does not state anything in relation to inheritance rights, so that the person concerned is free to decide how to proceed without the need to make a declaration of heirs.

If the law that will mark your will is Spanish law, it is advisable that the will is made official in Spain. In this way, the process of adjudication will be simpler as no foreigner’s document will be necessary, only the certainty that the existing rights of the successors under the law are respected.

In cases where the applicable law is that of another country where such inheritance rights do exist, the best recommendation is not to make the will in Spain, as, at the time of proceeding with the adjudication of the inheritance in Spain, it will be necessary to obtain all the documentation to guarantee the fulfilment of such rights.