Are you wanting to add a spouse’s name to your deed or escritura in Spain? Very often we get a situation such as this. “We have owned a property in Spain for a number of years, but the escritura is in my name only. I bought the property before my wife and I met.
As we get older I think it would be wise to have my wife’s name added to the deeds. I made a Will some years ago in which all my property and possessions will be transferred to my wife. But I am thinking this may not be any easier regarding the property when I pass away, as my share will not go automatically to her, as she is not a joint owner. Is it going to be worth the undoubted cost of this change? Is it an easy process to effect the change? Can you please help.”
Firstly, property in Spain is owned in shares or percentages, not jointly as in the UK or Ireland, for example. So in this case the client owns 100% of the property. If both names already were on the deeds then they probably would have a share of 50% each.
On death, in Spain this would not pass automatically to the spouse. It can only be passed to the next of kin by way of a probate process in Spain. This would involve solicitor, notary, land registry and paying appropriate taxes. So the same situation as 100% being owned by the husband in this case, is just more of the property. It does not make much difference. A Spanish Will would prove the next of kin but it does not mean anything happens to pass the share of the property on automatically or easily.
Unfortunately, this is very expensive. There are no allowances in the Valencia region for gifting to a husband or a wife (currently….as we don´t know in the future. In the Murcia region it is much better as there is a 99% discount on taxes).
There are tax- free allowances for children and we help a lot with these donations. It would undoubtedly cost more than 10,000€ and possibly double that in the Valencia region to add a spouse’s name. Purchase and sale between them is not possible as you must show the transfer of the money for half of the property because of Money Laundering Regulations. And anyway, taxes on a purchase and sale of shares would be 10-13% in this region, plus costs.
The best way as opposed to adding a spouse’s name to an Escritura is to have a Spanish Will in favour of the spouse. It saves time, expense and gives clarity. Alternatively, many people have a private contract between themselves that 50% of the property is to go to the spouse. (In case a Will can be changed without the spouse knowing). This is simple, effective and we are used to preparing these contracts. Please contact us if we can help with preparing a contract for you.
If alternatively you are joint owners and wish to remove an owner or owners leaving one sole owner, we can help with this. There is a method called a dissolution of joint ownership which is less expensive than a purchase and sale. This is when we remove people from deeds. We are extremely experienced in these transactions. Please also advise us if we can help with removing a name/s from a deed.