Spanish wills: did you know this?


 A few days ago, one of my clients sent me an email asking the following question about Spanish wills.

 << Is it possible for you to give information on the new law coming out in 2014, that states that if our Spanish Will does not include the fact we wish for UK law to be used, it will be applied using Spanish law, meaning the eldest son inherits everything, or is this bar room talk? >>

Although I don’t offer any services on Spanish wills (I may in the future, who knows), I’m sure it is a subject of general interest.

To clarify this question I had two options:

1. Searching on Google + reading a topic I don’t have much knowledge on to write an article on Torrevieja Translation.

2. Contacting Suzanne O’Connell, from Abaco Advisers, who are experts in legal and tax advice, and ask her if she could write a short article for my blog.

No need to say more. Here’s Suzanne’s article.



The subject of Spanish wills is certainly hogging the headlines a little at the moment. Firstly you need to be aware that different countries have different laws surrounding who you can and can’t leave your property to.

The law of succession in Spain means that when someone dies two-thirds of the total inheritance must go to the children who are the ‘legal beneficiaries’. This is different to the inheritance laws that apply in the UK and Ireland. In these countries you can make a will leaving your property to whoever you want.

Until recently this difference had not posed a problem for those living in Spain. However, new EU legislation means that Spanish national inheritance law will operate when a person dies irrespective of their nationality unless they have made a will to indicate that they want their own country’s laws to apply.

The EU Succession Regulation (EU No. 650/ 2012) states that those people who habitually reside in a country for at least two years will have the national inheritance law of that country apply to them, unless their will requests otherwise:

spanish-wills-inheritance2(Sunset on the cobbled street)

EU citizens habitually residing in Spain (Residents) will be subject to the Spanish succession law, despite their nationality, unless they specifically state in their will the wish for the succession law of their country of origin to apply.

If the correct clause isn’t included then the distribution of your inheritance will automatically revert to Spanish law. If you have no will at all, then Spanish law will also apply.

Please note that if you are a non-resident with property in Spain your own national law will dictate how you bequeathe your assets and this new piece of legislation does not apply to you.

The new regulations come into effect from 17th August 2015 and we recommend that you ensure that your will includes the necessary clause.

Suzanne O’Connell – Abaco Advisers



I’ll be glad to publish more content on this subject. Send me an email and will do my best to bring you the answer :-)


Image Credit: Ajnagraphy, Kevin Dooley


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  1. James says

    Hi David, thanks for your info on Spanish Wills, we need to update ours.

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi James,

      Glad to hear you found the article useful :-)

      All the best

  2. Frank Talbot says

    Thank you David, the information from abaco is very useful and I need to re-assess our Spanish will.

    • David Ruiz says

      You’re welcome Frank :-)