Spanish Probate (Death in Spain)

We are experienced probate lawyers who handle this matter sensitively and efficiently

Molina Solicitors can assist with the writing of Wills for Spain and also with inheritance or Spanish probate in Spain when someone dies.

Writing Wills

Clients should be aware that firstly it is important to have a Spanish Will as well as a home country Will, especially if they are Resident in Spain. It is also important to have certain provisions in a Spanish Will. This is to ensure that your national law overrides Spanish law for inheritance (enforced inheritors) if you are British or Irish.  This is not possible though in countries where there are also enforced inheritors. All clients with properties in Spain should have Spanish Wills, as it saves costs and time when someone dies.

Probate Process

It is very important to be aware that for probate and inheritance, ownership of property in Spain is different from the UK or Ireland. When one joint owner dies, ownership does not get transferred automatically to the other owner/s. Not without a probate process being completed through a Notary and if there is property also through Land Registry and Tax Office. Similarly, bank accounts, cars and other assets also need to be in a probate deed. This is to transfer them into the name of the next of kin.

A probate or inheritance process on death includes:-

–           Meeting or discussing with clients all aspects of the probate from the beginning to completion in plain English.

–           Explaining the documentation required by the Spanish authorities in order to process the inheritance. Also to pass assets into inheritor’s names including obtaining these documents in certain instances.

–           Advice regarding the relevant expenses and taxes and a clear detailed breakdown. Plus settlement of these taxes with the Spanish authorities.

–           Preparation and translation of the deed of probate or inheritance before a Spanish Notary. Plus submission of the new deed and registration at the local Land Registry.

Inheritance Tax

A solicitor will initially wish to establish certain information such as the details of assets and liabilities in Spain. Also, whether there was a Spanish Will or whether probate is needed from another country. And of course who is the next of kin. Depending on the relationship between the deceased and the inheritor/s, each region in Spain has tax allowances for inheritance tax. Also for gift tax for an inheritance given while the person is still alive. And if there is any tax to pay, this must be done so within six months of the date of death.

At the present time, in Murcia and in the Valencia region, tax allowances for close family are quite generous. If you are the next of kin to someone who has passed away with Spanish property or assets you do not need to wait to come to Spain to deal with matters. This can be dealt with by email, telephone and post. For costs that you will need to pay to inherit the estate in Spain, please contact us. We have been advising on these issues for many years and will endeavour to make the whole process as smooth as possible. We can also help with donations and gifting.

Selling a Probate Property

As in most other countries, inheritance tax liabilities need to be settled prior to accepting the inheritance.  When a property is located in our area, we can sometimes assist by dealing with a sale of the property simultaneously with a probate. However, when the deceased had Spanish Bank accounts, the inheritors will usually find that they are unable to access the funds belonging to the deceased at the time of death. Until the probate is done and taxes settled with the relevant tax office. Only then can they access the accounts. Although generally most Banks allow payment of utilities. Accounts cannot usually be transferred into the name of anyone else other than a joint account holder. Not without the clients coming to Spain to visit the Bank.


Assets such as property and vehicles are valued for Spanish probate purposes by the tax value according to the authorities. We can advise costs with property deeds, IBI or Suma council tax bill, car log book etc. The total value of assets, less liabilities, may be liable for tax in Spain. Please note that only funeral expenses in Spain can be deducted against any tax, not from another country.

Death Certificates

Important steps when dealing with a Spanish inheritance are for us to obtain an original death certificate. Then to send this to the Wills Registry for a Last Will Certificate.   If the death certificate is not Spanish, then the certificate is stamped with the Apostille of the Hague Convention. It is also necessary to obtain an original copy of the Spanish Will. Or if the Will was granted out of Spain, have it stamped with the Apostille.

No Will

In the event that there is no Will at all with a Spanish probate, it will be necessary to obtain a certification issued by the corresponding authority in the home country. This must state who the heirs are as per the applicable legislation, also legalised with the Apostille. An example is Letters of Administration.

Once all the documentation is in place, together with some documentation to be obtained in Spain then it is necessary to arrange an appointment for completion at the Notary in Spain. You do not need to be here for this as can provide a power of attorney.

We would settle the Inheritance Tax in Spain and proceed with the registration of the property in the name of the heir/s.


Please note that the heirs will need to have NIE numbers for completion and either appear in front of the Notary in Spain or give power of attorney to us. This is to have the Spanish assets registered in their names. This includes for spouses as nothing happens automatically. If you have a friend or family member that may need assistance with an inheritance or probate as they have lost someone with property, bank account or other assets in Spain please contact us.