Letters of Administration in Spain

Posted in: Family Law, Legal

This article covers letters of administration in Spain. It is only applicable for probates where there is no testament in Spain or abroad. Or that there is a testament but it does not cover assets in a different country. For example, a UK will with an exclusion clause that the contents do not apply outside of the UK.

Why Might Letters of Administration in Spain be Needed?

When someone dies with assets in Spain, then a probate needs to be done in Spain to transfer the assets to the inheritors of the deceased. For this, a Spanish Will takes precedence, but if there is no Spanish Will then probate or Letters of Administration will be needed.

Therefore the process is to check firstly if there is a Spanish Will through the Wills Registry in Madrid. We can help obtain this Last Will Certificate. If there is no Spanish Will, then we ask for a copy of any Foreign Will. We also need an original Grant of Probate (or equivalent) with a Hague Apostille. If there is no Foreign Will then we request Letters of Administration (or equivalent) as someone will be appointed to administer the Estate.

However, in some cases (it is rare though) it is not possible to obtain Letters of Administration from the Home Country. Maybe because the deceased has been resident abroad for many years and has no assets in their country of birth.

Obtaining Letters of Administration

1. Fortunately, under Spanish Law it is possible to obtain these in Spain for foreign citizens.

There are 2 conditions for being able to obtain letters of administration in Spain:

  • The last address of the deceased must have been in Spain OR
  • The deceased had assets in Spain

We also may need the assistance of a Notary from the home country of the deceased.

Therefore, if one person dies and was resident in Spain, we can obtain these even if they had no assets in Spain. This may be needed for dealing with an Estate outside of Spain.

Moreover, if a person dies being non-resident in Spain, we can also obtain a letter of administration if they had assets in Spain at the time of death

2. In order to obtain letters of administration in Spain, we must use Spanish formalities.

Therefore, we must prove in Spain who the next of kin are using the law applicable to the succession.

This means we need to prove in Spain if a testament was granted in the country of the deceased or not (as above) . We need to prove who is the next of kin following the law applicable to the succession. We need to prove why this person is next of kin and we need to prove the relationship with the deceased.

What Else?

Also why there is no other relative with rights in the succession and sometimes we need to prove the law applicable. We need assistance to do this generally from legal professionals in the country of the deceased by way of an Affidavit prepared by us. Then executed by a Notary and attaching original documents with an Apostille to prove various statements.

3. Letters of administration can be obtained only in the place where the deceased was resident or had assets. Jurisdiction cannot be changed.


If you need assistance with a probate or inheritance situation, or need help obtaining letters of administration we are here. For a probate we can help all over Spain. For Spanish Letters of Administration the deceased or the assets need to be local to us (Murcia or Alicante regions).