Inheritance with the European Regulation 650/2012
lawyers in spain

This new regulation brings solutions to many problems foreigners were experiencing in Spain.

The Spanish Inheritance law differs from the Inheritance Law of England and Wales.  In fact,  according to the Spanish Law, the  descendants, ascendants and wife are entitled to most of the inheritance assets, also known as «forced heirship», this law states that 2/3 of the deceased inheritance, should be destined to the descendants and just 1/3 of the inheritance, can be of free disposition to the testator or testatrix.

The England and Wales law recognizes the freedom to dispose of their estate according to their wishes.

This new regulation also dictates that the applicable law to the inheritance process will be the one of the country where the deceased resided for the last two years – habitual residence-. Unless the departed would have opted in a will that the  law of his nationality should be the applicable law to the succession. (article 22)


It is very important if you are residing in Spain, to make a will, expressing your choice of law for your inheritance process and to clearly establish your place of residence.

The existence of a spanish will, simplifies the Spanish Inheritance Process and will reduce the possibility of your spanish will to be contested.

The spanish will must be done in accordance with your national law and also observing the formalities of the Spanish Civil Code along with the European Union Regulations.

The art 22 of the regulation allows foreigners with assets and properties in the European Union to choose the law of their nationality as the law to govern their succession process as a whole. Nevertheless, the choice of law, must be done in written.


This new regulation is also applicable to nationals from EU members which have not ratified it, such as Denmark, United Kingdom and Ireland.


Regulation 650/2012 will be applied to the succession of people who pass away after August 17, 2015. It will also be applied if the deceased had selected, expressly in written, before that date., the law that will govern his succession process, such election shall be valid if done observing the regulation or the rules of private international law relevant to the case.


If you are foreigner residing in Spain and you wish to protect your estate and make sure your last wished are attended, contact our law firm, we will draft your spanish will, ensuring your choice of law to govern your inheritance process, is correctly expressed and valid. If you have already made a will several years ago, we can review it and adapt it to the new regulation in order to make it more beneficial and in accordance to your wishes and needs.


A good estate planning is important and if correctly done by an expert lawyer, the spanish inheritance tax can be minimized.

Contact one of our lawyers today to get a legal advice:


Telephone: UK +44 20 3393 4235



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