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Dealing with someone’s affairs in Spain when they die

Lawyer Raymundo Larrain briefly explains the steps that need to be taken to prepare an inheritance procedure in Spain.


It is strongly recommended that you make a Spanish will when you own property in Spain. The reason is because it will greatly assist your appointed beneficiaries saving them time, money, and aggravation at a time of bereavement. The full advantages are explained in our article:  7 Advantages of Making a Spanish will – 8th May 2018. Spanish wills are usually done in under one hour at a Spanish notary.

It’s important to note you only have 6 months to file inheritance tax in Spain, as from the time of death, without attracting any penalties. After the tax deadline, penalties and delay interests are rolled on top and can be up to 20% of the estate.  Your lawyer can request a one-time extension to avoid this.

When a person dies in Spain, you must appoint a Spanish qualified lawyer to instigate and oversee the probate procedure. Depending on whether there is a Spanish will already made, the procedure can take anywhere between two months to over a year. That is why we stress again that making a Spanish will  is highly advantageous as it cuts through all the red tape saving considerable time and money (in the thousands).

Property in Spain cannot be sold to anyone until the probate procedure has concluded and the taxes have been filed. Only then can the property be re-registered under the beneficiary’s name who becomes the new legal owner and is now free to sell the property on.

Please note that in several regions of Spain, such as Andalusia, inheritance tax has been suppressed, so 99.99% of people don’t pay any tax on inheriting (but the tax still needs to be filed regardless).

If a loved one passes away in Spain, please contact our law firm so we can assist you. We have over 20 years’ experience assisting in probate matters all over Spain. We are here to help.

LNA offers the following related tax & legal services:

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    Marbella-based Larraín Nesbitt Abogados (LNA) has over 20 years’ taxation & conveyancing experience at your service. We offer a wide range of 50 legal and corporate services. Our team of native English-speaking lawyers and economists have a long track record successfully assisting expats all over Spain.

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