Don’t get burnt when buying, selling or inheriting property in Spain

A story about saving money and trouble when leaving or receiving an inheritance in Spain

Mr. Rainyday and Mr. Blueskies were catching up over a beer in Barcelona on a sunny Friday morning. Mr. Rainyday had barely taken a sip of his beer before he was on his pet topic — complaining about Spain, his and Mr. Blueskies’ adopted home as of a few years ago.



‘This time it’s dad’s flat in Andalucía. It’s over a year and a half since his funeral, and I’ve only just got it transferred to my name. Plus, it’s cost me a fortune. There’s no way it’d be such a hassle back home. It’s a total scam!’



‘That’s funny,’ said Mr. Blueskies, ‘My dad died around the same time, had an identical apartment in the same building as your dad, and it only took us four months to get the apartment registered in my name and my mother’s. And, if I remember correctly, it didn’t cost that much, either.’



‘Really?’ asked Mr. Rainyday, ‘How’d you manage that?’



‘I don’t know. It all seemed pretty straightforward. Roser Coll from Ava Law took care of everything for my dad. Was there a problem with your father’s Spanish will or something?’



‘Will? What will? Dad didn’t have one, but I thought you didn’t even need one in Spain?’



‘You don’t need one, but having one makes things a lot easier and cheaper for your heirs,’ said Mr. Blueskies. ‘Because my father had a Spanish will, I didn’t have to get sworn translations of and legalize tons of documents. There were no surprises about what law was applicable . There was no need to get certificates stating which will is valid according to the foreign law applicable to the inheritance and no need to pay lawyers to deal with all the red tape in the different countries. And we didn’t have to wait a year or two to get the property transferred to our names.’



‘I see…’ said Mr. Rainyday. ‘Anyway, what really made me angry, even more so than the silly bureaucracy, was paying the €60.000 in inheritance tax for a property worth €300.000.’



‘Wow’, exclaimed Mr. Blueskies, ‘You paid that much, did you!We didn’t pay any taxfor inheriting my dad’s flat because Roser advised my father to leave 50% of the flat to my mother and 50% to me in his will so that we both could take advantage of the personal tax exemption of €175.000 that Andalucía gave to heirs residing there at that moment. What a difference some simple Spanish inheritance tax planning makes, eh?’ Since Mr. Rainyday looked really sour, Mr. Blueskies changed the topic and started to whether Barça was going to win all 3 competitions this season…

Later that evening, Mr. Blueskies wrote a WhatsApp to his cousin, who is also planning to come to live and invest in Spain in the near future, reminding him about the do’s and don’ts of the inheritance matters in Spain:

“Dear Cousin – Please remember: plan in advance the inheritance of your properties in Spain to save hassle and taxes…and reflect the outcome in a Spanish Will!”

Article kindly shared by Lourdes Santisteban and Roser Coll at Ava Law

Lourdes Santisteban

Lourdes Santisteban of Ava Law

Roser Coll

Roser Coll of Ava Law

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