Spanish probate – Inheritance process

Dealing with the legal process after the loss of a relative or friend can be difficult; and we appreciate that this needs to be handled with sensitivity. Our probate team understand how upsetting it is when a loved one passes away and the difficulties of dealing with their Spanish assets.


Whether you have inherited an asset in Spain, or you are a legal adviser or other professional requiring advice on the Spanish element of any estate, Laakso Law & Advisors, SLP has the expertise advising on Spanish inheritance law

The legal situation will be different if there is a Spanish will, a foreign will or in some cases, no will.  In any case we can undertake all the necessary Spanish work to administer the Spanish estate and have it transferred to the beneficiaries

The process to transfer the Spanish estate to beneficiaries is called the “inheritance process” (and not “the probate”). It always requires the intervention of a Notary Public. Actually, main legal steps will be focused on obtaining the necessary paperwork from Spain and from your country to sign the Spanish inheritance title deed before the Notary.

There are two general rules governing the succession:

  • Assets in Spain will always be transmitted under Spanish Law
  • Inheritance taxes (in relation to those assets) will be paid in Spain.

The first step to take will be to know who the beneficiaries are. If there is a valid will in place, a “testate” inheritance process will follow and the will shall determine the actual beneficiaries. If there is not a valid will in place, then the inheritance follows the “intestate” process and the Law shall determine entirely the actual beneficiaries and the share of the estate they will inherit.

After identifying the total number of inheritors and the share of the estate they are entitled to, and finding out the value of the Spanish estate, the supporting documents will be delivered to the Notary Public, who will finally issue the deeds containing the transfer of ownership from the deceased party to the beneficiaries. All the beneficiaries must sign the deeds at the Notary office, as a formal proof of acceptance. However, Laakso Law & Advisors, SLP can attend on your behalf having Power of Attorney.  If you instruct us, there will be no need for anyone to travel to Spain to complete the process.

Power of Attorney can be arranged either in Spain or in your country.

Last steps will be to file and pay the corresponding taxes (plusvalia tax and inheritance tax) and to make sure the property is duly registered in your name at the Land Registry office.

As part of our service we will also set up all the utilities contracts for the property and the direct debits to pay the corresponding bills.

If you wish you can instruct us to sell any properties in Spain and to repatriate any funds as well.


Please note:

– it is compulsory for beneficiaries and executors to obtain a NIE number, otherwise the inheritance title deed cannot be notarised. NIE is the foreigners identification number, similar to the national insurance, but it is actually an identification for tax purposes.

– there is a deadline of six months from the time of the testator’s passing to file and pay Spanish Inheritance Tax. Once the six months deadline has elapsed, beneficiaries will incur in penalties for late payment typically ranging from 5% to 20.


Browse through the below topics to find more information about taxes involved in the inheritance transaction.

Please contact us and we will prepare a proposal of services that best suits your needs.



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