Inheritance of foreigners in Spain: Which law applies?

One of the most frequent questions in the subject of international inheritance is what legislation applies when a foreigner residing in Spain dies in this country, not in that of their nationality. Does the law of your country of birth or residence apply?

With the constant flow of people in a world as globalized as the current one, it is completely normal for a person of any nationality to have found their residence in Spain, either by immigration or by the so-called residential tourism. For this reason, we will clarify any type of doubt that can occur at such an important time as knowing which law to apply in the inheritance.

What law applies to the inheritance of a resident alien in Spain?

Since 17 August 2015, the solution to this answer is very simple. With the entry into force of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council number 650/2012, of 4 July 2012, in Spain the law applicable to the country of residence of the deceased will be applied at the time of his death as a general rule.

Even so, the last word on which legislation is accepted is of the foreigner resident in Spain. If you want to apply the Spanish law, you do not have to do anything, as we have seen is what is established in the law. However, if you decide that you want your inheritance to be governed by the law of the country of your nationality, you can do so by granting living will and communicating your wish.

This statement in your will can be made by any foreigner residing in Spain, regardless of nationality. It is not something that only affects the countries of the European Union, so the many English who live in Spanish territory should not suffer due to the entry into force of Brexit. They may choose which law to apply in their inheritance, as any person of another nationality.

How does a foreigner’s will have to be in Spain?

Regulation 650/2012 also determines when a will of a foreign person will be valid in a country of the European Union like Spain.

On the one hand, the regulation is quite flexible. The will must be adapted to the formalities of the law of the country in which it was granted or to those of the state of the nationality of the testator. That is to say, a Japanese resident in Spain can make the will fulfilling the Japanese or the Spanish norm. A testament that complies with the law of the state where the property of the testator may reside is also valid if it is real state.

On the other hand, the content must be applicable to the succession “mortis causa” if the testator died on the date the will was granted. This will regulate the causes that prevent the testator to provide for certain people, the ability to test, the interpretation of the will or the vices of consent.

For any inquiries about how to make a will correctly and to choose which law is more advisable to apply your inheritance, do not hesitate to contact GM Tax Consultancy. We are experts in advice on inheritance, both national and international.

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