Your will in Spain may be invalid as from this August

Do you have a Spanish will from the last few years? Then a new EU directive has probably made it out dated and it is essential you review it!

On the 17th of August 2015 EU directive 650/2012 comes into force across the union which regulates the jurisdiction of inheritance tax.

In essence, if your will does not specifically say that you want your country of birth to enact jurisdiction, your inheritors will not inherit as planned.

The new directive especially affects people from the UK!

In essence, if you are British and die in Spain, unless you specifically state that you want your will to be executed under English / Scottish law, it will be executed under Spanish law and the provisions in the will may be invalid, rendering your final wishes null and void.

For example, under Spanish law, you cannot leave your entire estate to one person, as the Spanish system establishes that a minimum percentage must go to each of your obligatory heirs. Your spouse could suddenly find that a large portion of your estate goes to someone else. This can be especially complicated when the deceased has children who have no interest in their parents new partner!

If you have children but have made a will leaving all assets to your spouse, make sure that you have clearly stated on your will that you want your national law (English or Scottish law) to rule your inheritance.

The new law gives more power to the citizen as it allows them to specify under which jurisdiction they want their will to be executed, but if you do not adapt your will to the new conditions it could have serious complications for you.

We can modify your will (which must be signed by a Notary Public and registered) for a very low cost, and if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to update your will, we can arrange this as well.

Don’t delay and contact us today! If you are simply unsure whether your will is valid under the new law, we are happy to take a look and advise you.

Maria Luisa

María Luisa Cervantes is a chartered accountant who graduated from the University of Granada in 2002. Founder of Cervantes Alarcón Consulting, she is an experienced accountant and financial advisor who is a member of the Almería guild of economists. With more than 15 years of experience in business administration and international trade, she is also a subject matter expert in the UK - Spanish bilateral agreements which cover the rights of expats to live, work and retire in Spain.

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