Spain has been the prime destination for decades for British nationals relocating abroad. This situation has resulted in a considerable number of their relatives facing having to deal with probate in Spain with their loved ones pass away.

Overseas probate can be an expensive and long drawn out procedure, made more challenging if the beneficiaries were unaware that they were to be the recipient of the deceased’s assets. In Spain there is a choice to accept or reject the inheritance and depending on whether there is a will, if the inheritance is rejected it will pass to the next legitimate heir. One of the factors that can influence this decision is that a beneficiary assumes immediate financial responsibility for the property once they have accepted their inheritance.

Graziano Cecchetti, a partner, commented “a British national living in Spain with assets in both countries is keenly advised to consider making comprehensive English and Spanish wills following expert legal advice before planning the disposal of their estate.  Overlooking estate planning can cause considerable problems for your chosen beneficiaries, particular as the Spanish laws of succession across the regions of Spain are variable and with the added impact of the British aspect could lead to an extensive and costly legal battle, particularly in light of recent legal decisions”

Once you have decided to accept your inheritance you will have to obtain a Grant of Probate for which you will require the following documentation:

  • The deceased’s death certificate
  • You will have to prove the link between the deceased and yourself and any other heirs.  Such as your birth certificate if the deceased was your parent.
  • A copy of the deceased’s will, if any. This must be translated into Spanish

All documents not drafted in Spanish must be translated into Spanish and certified by a Notary with an Apostille, which affirms the provenance and legality of the documentation.

Giambrone & Partners expert inheritance, wills and probate lawyers can assist beneficiaries of Spanish assets with all the legal procedures, including contested inheritance. Our lawyers have many years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of inheritance in Spain from the straightforward to the highly complex contested matters. We can also assist with the disposal of any fixed assets such as real estate, managing all aspects of the sale and purchase.

Contested probate arises in Spain despite the Spanish laws of Succession which rely on forced heirship, in other words, the allocation of designated proportions of the deceased’s estate in accordance to their relationship to the deceased. This means that certain relatives receive a set portion of the estate and that any children of the deceased, regardless of their legitimacy, receive set portions of equal value. If there are no children the inheritance the inheritance extends to the wider family.

Spain is a country that has autonomous regions and therefore the laws vary across the country and there are no hard and fast rules. Should you face a challenge to your inheritance the lawyers in Giambrone & Partners wills and probate teams strongly advise seeking expert legal advice related, not only, to your particular circumstances but to the region your deceased relative either lived in or where their fixed assets are held as well as nationalities of all involved.

Well planned estate and wealth management can make a considerable difference to the legality of claims and how matters are dealt with.

Graziano Cecchetti is a partner and an Abogado (Spanish lawyer) at the Barcelona Office. Prior to joining Giambrone he worked in Italy and Spain where he was employed in a significant law firm and a well-known company where he gained invaluable commercial law experience.

Graziano brings unparalleled knowledge of the residential real estate market in Spain to his clients enabling him to guide them through the intricacies of the market. His comprehensive knowledge and meticulous attention to detail together with his capacity to resolve issues and find satisfactory solutions where necessary have earned him an impressive reputation in this field. Combined with his innovative investment and wealth management solutions his clients regard him as the first port of call as a trusted adviser for guidance with a wide range of issues.



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