Living abroad definitely has its benefits but death follows us wherever we are and just because we get to bask most of the year in the glorious sun, unfortunately, we are not immune to it. How would you cope if a family member died? How would you navigate the Spanish system? As morbid as it seems, we must make sure our affairs are in order, so here’s a brief insight into Spanish Wills.
If you have assets in Spain, a Spanish Will is highly recommended mainly because it prevents additional tax complications. A Spanish Will only refers to your assets situated in Spain so any other Will you may have in the UK or any other country will not be affected. The upside is that you by-pass an ugly battle between the two countries as they determine how the properties, monies etc should be taxed and each Will would abide by the law of the country in which the assets are located, reducing extra costs of having official documents translated by a sworn translator etc.
Under Spanish law, if you don’t have a Will, your assets could be distributed differently than you’d like or even end up in the hands of the State instead of your family unless specifically mentioned in your UK Will but again this only over-complicates an already unpleasant procedure because you would have to finalize all paperwork in the UK before your could even turn your attention to the situation here.
You wouldn’t however be obliged to follow Spanish law in the actual drafting of the Will as you can leave your assets to the person(s) of your choice whereas Spanish nationals must abide by different rules.
To obtain a Spanish Will, enlist a professional such as a lawyer or a consultant who can draft the document in Spanish and English to be signed before a Notary Public and duly registered. Another important detail to remember is that your Will can be changed at any time even from the UK but if you do so you should ensure that the foreign official informs the Spanish registry of said change. In the event of death, your legal representative may consult with official channels in order to retrieve the last Will, not necessarily via the notary that signed off on the document.
At the end of the day, preparing your Spanish Will makes it that much easier and less costly for the loved ones you leave behind so don’t put it off until it’s too late.