European Union New Regulations about Inheritance, in force since August 2015, are meant to “organize” the Inheritance regulations in all EU countries in order to avoid the previous confusions when a foreigner, resident in one of our countries but born in another, as a UK citizen resident in Spain can be, dies with no Will, or without a proper Will in the country of residence.
In accordance to the new Law, Inheritance of your country of residence assets (in this case, your Spanish assets) can be ruled with your motherland Inheritance rules, however, it can be also ruled with the country of residence regulation; you have to decide and declare it when making your Will.
But this decision has to be clear and with no room for any ambiguity because in case of any ambiguity regarding the wording of the Will then and from the EU new regulations, the Country of Residence Law will apply.
And surely, you will not want the Spanish Inheritance rules of compulsory heirs to apply if you are an UK national living in Spain
In Spain, almost all the marriages share the ownership of the estate they have in common. Private estate, i.e., estate that has been inherited or owned before the marriage, stays in the private ownership of the spouse that has received it/owned it, but, everything bought or got during the marriage will be shared, half and half, by each spouse.
If someone dies with no Will in Spain (or if the Will is not properly done and Spanish Law applies) then, ownership of all his estate (100% of his private estate and 50% of the marriage estate) will be transferred to his children, and if no children will go to his parents, or sisters and brothers….The other spouse will only get the life use of the other spouse estate but will not get the ownership at all.
But following the UK example, the rule that applies is the Free Will or Free Disposition of estate. The UK Law allows a wife to leave her Spanish estate to her husband, Spanish Law as you can see does not.
Therefore, if you want your motherland to rule your inheritance in Spain please, get sure that your Spanish Will has been properly done.
In case you have any doubts about the text of your Wills please, send it to us and we will inform you whether it needs to be remade or not free of costs and with no further obligation.
Ignacio Ganga – Lawyer & Barrister at Alicante Solicitor > Raymundo & Hopman.