FAQs about Spanish wills for British citizens
By Claudia Font. Partner, Solicitor and Spanish lawyer.
Q: Should I have a Spanish Will to cover my Spanish property?
A: It is not compulsory, but it is more than advisable.
Q: Will my inheritors pay less taxes in Spain if I have a Spanish Will in place?
A: No, having a Spanish Will or not, does not impact on the Taxes to pay. Having said that, it will save your inheritors time and costs.
Q: Do I need to travel to Spain to sign a Spanish Will?
A: No, a Spanish Will can be signed from abroad, so you can sign it in the UK and the Will will be as valid as if it was signed in Spain. Please note that there are some formalities to consider because Spanish Will and English Wills are very different, therefore, it is important that you seek advice from a Spanish lawyer.
Q: Where can I sign my Spanish Will in the UK?
A: You can sign it at the Spanish Consulate or with a Notary Public.
Q: Will my Spanish Will revoke my previously made English Will?
A: It is very important that when signing a Spanish Will you mention to the Spanish lawyer drafting it that you already have an English Will in place, if that is the case, so a clause can be introduced to specifically say that you do not want to revoke any previous Wills made in the UK.
Q: What are the main formalities for a Spanish Will signed in the UK?
A: Spanish Wills signed out of Spain with a Notary Public, also need to be witnessed (two witnesses). Spanish Wills signed out of Spain at the Spanish Consulate or Wills signed in Spain, do not need witnesses but should be signed in front of the Spanish Consul or Notary Public. There are some types of Wills that are not notarised, but they are very uncommon.
Q: Does my Spanish Will need to be Apostilled?
A: If you sign a Spanish Will in the UK with a Notary Public, it will need to be Apostilled. The lawyer drafting the Will shall obtain the Apostille and register it at the Central Wills Registry in Madrid. If you sign it at the Spanish Consulate, there is no need of an Apostille.
Q: If I do not have assets in Spain but I currently live in Spain, do I still need to have a Spanish Will in place?
A: If you are resident in Spain at the time you die and you have not made a “chose of law” on a Will, your worldwide estate will be governed by Spanish Law. This meansthat should you have assets in the UK, they will be tied to Spanish law and Spanish inheritance rules such as the forced heirs will apply. When you sign a Spanish Will, it is important that you consider choosing your personal/national law to apply rather than the law of the place of your last residence.
Q: Can I decide that I want my assets in Spain to be transferred based on the law of England and Wales rather than Spanish Law?
A: Yes, as a British citizen you can chose your national law i.e. English and Welsh law to apply to your Spanish estate. This needs to be mentioned on a Spanish Will. More info about Spanish Wills, click here.
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