Your Spanish Wills

When an individual owns property in the UK and Spain it is highly advisable to have two separate Wills since it will simplify substantially the formalities of the Probate avoiding considerable paper work and the need to translate the foreign Will.

When dealing with Spanish property it is also advisable to make the Will general, this means applicable not only to the property currently owned (in Spain) by the Testator but also to any property that he may acquire in the future.


The reasons why we in all cases of a normal inheritance recommend a will in Spain, are the following:

  • If your inheritance in Spain is done over a will made abroad, or decided by an inheritance court abroad in absence of a will, the heirs must prepare an authorised translation and also have an “apostille” (an official stamp verifying the signature of the judge) on the original document. This means additional work, costs and time.
  • The time limit for making an inheritance tax declaration in Spain is 6 months from the death. If you are waiting for the probate from the home country to be issued, and then have to make the translation and get the “apostille” before taking it to Spain, you may easily overrun this time limit and be in for fines.
  • With a will in Spain you can to a certain degree regulate the distribution of the assets. For instance you can make sure that your spouse will have the undivided users right for life, or that only one of the children is taking over the house in Spain, the others having been compensated by assets in the home country.
  • You can also make an inheritance tax saving by making the right kind of will in Spain.

“Testamento abierto” (open will) is the most used form, where you tell the notary what the contents of the will shall be, or let Spanish lawyer make it. The notary signs it together with the issuer. A report on the will is then sent to the “Registro de las Ultimas Voluntades” in Madrid. When the issuer of the will dies and before the adjudication can be made, a search must be made in the registry in Madrid to find out if a will has been registered or not. Even if no will has been registered, written confirmation from the registry in Madrid is obligatory. The certificate issued by the Will Registry in Madrid must be attached to the signing of the “Deed of Acceptance of the Inheritance”.

Susana Diez Urquiola, the Spanish Lawyer at in Beaconsfield has been working in the UK for the past 15 years and she is registered with the Law Society as a European Solicitor and is also a member of the Bilbao Bar. She has a vast experience in making the Spanish Wills for her clients, and also she can provide you with legal advice relating to the Wills and Spanish Inheritance tax.

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact for a free initial consultation.