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Procedures to inherit in Spain

von María José García Garrido

At some point in our lives, we will all be find ourselves involved in an inheritance as heirs. In order for the succession to be carried out in a correct, controlled and efficient way, it is very important to be organized when processing an inheritance.

It is common for multiple people to inherit the assets and rights of a single deceased person in Spain. In other words, a person who holds assets in Spain dies leaving other people who may or may not be relatives as heirs.

But, how is all this managed when the heir is not Spanish and, furthermore, it is not possible for them to travel to Spain?

The current problems caused by the mobility restrictions due to CoVid cause many clients to ask themselves: How can I manage my inheritance in Spain without leaving my country
of residence?

In this post, we will inform you about the necessary steps to take in order to inherit in Spain, whether you are a non-Spanish national, or reside outside of Spain and have found
travelling here impossible.

You can rest assured that if you need to process an inheritance in Spain without leaving your place of residence, it is possible.

You can trust our team of lawyers to carry out all the arrangements for you.

Legal steps to inherit in Spain

When a client discovers that a family member or acquaintance has passed away and that they have been named heir in the will, or that this position corresponds to them legally, we
can inform them about the mandatory procedures needed to manage the inheritance, with the end result of changing the ownership of the deceased’s assets.

1. What do you need to do before receiving an inheritance if you are not a Spanish national?

The first steps to processing your inheritance are the following:

  • Manage the documentation that proves the place and date of death of the deceased.
  • Investigate family relationships with the deceased to establish legal rights.
  • Obtain the ‘Last Will and Testament’ document in Spain and in the country of residence.
  • Obtain the copy and probate of the will.
  • Manage the checking accounts of the deceased with the banks.
  • Process the NIE of their heir.
  • Manage the documentation for the succession abroad.
  • Understand the tax implications and make a calculation of the taxes which need to be paid by the heir.

Once the above points are completed, the next step is to manage the signing of the inheritance deed at the notary’s office.

2. Signature of the deed and acceptance of the inheritance.

Before accepting the inheritance, it is important to carry out an investigation of the legal status of the properties and assets to be inherited. It is also necessary to discover if there
are charges that encumber the assets or debts of the deceased.

Once we know what the legal situation of the inheritance is, we can prepare the inheritance deed at the Notary’s Office, making sure that it contains all the necessary documentation and that all the data is correct.

At this point, you may decide to come to Spain and sign the prepared deed yourself before a public notary, in which case, according to your wishes, we will accompany you during the signing to resolve any questions that may arise. The other option is to sign a power of attorney for a specialist estate attorney to represent you. We have been making these procedures possible and facilitating them for more than 25 years.

However, we always resolve any questions our clients have prior to their notary appointment.

3. The next step after signing the deed of acceptance of the inheritance

After signing, you must pay the corresponding taxes and register the inherited assets in the property register.

At this point you become the new owner of the assets inherited. However, the administrative procedures still aren´t over. You will have to change the titleholder on the bills of the utilities of the property, if what you have inherited is real estate.

You will have fiscal responsibilities as an owner in Spain, and you could start to consider the sale of said inherited property.
For this reason, you should not only look at inheritances from the point of view of being an heir, but you should also start to think that, as an asset holder, you will need to order your assets and organize the succession of you own will, in order for your wishes to be fulfilled.

So as to do this, you must rely on the tools offered by both the law and a team of lawyers specialized in inheritance in Spain.


María José García Garrido
Abogada (Spanische Anwältin)


Kanzlei García-Garrido
Avda. del Pla 130, 1º piso, oficina 1.05
E-03730 Jávea (Prov. Alicante)
Tel. 0034 96 646 08 58
Tel. 0034 96 646 08 59
E.Mail: javea@garciagarrido.com
Internet: www.garciagarrido.com

Bildquelle: © Kanzlei García-Garrido



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