Conflict of Law

Derecho Internacional Privado

In an international inheritance there may be several different countries’ regulations involved. The problems that arise on the different laws to be applied, and the possible conflict between them, are resolved by the so called conflict-of-laws rules within a system called Private International Law (PIL). Each country has its own Private International Law system.

The EU countries ( except Ireland, Denmark and UK) approved a common system of Private International Law with the new EU regulation 650/2012 which entered into force on 17th August 2015.

The EU Regulation will be applied if the jurisdiction to deal with the inheritance falls to the Spanish court, regardless of which law is applicable to the succession.

The regulation changes the traditional principal of basing the applicable law on the nationality to basing it on the last residence of the deceased. That notwithstanding, it opens up the possibility of making a choice of the law to be applied to that of the nationality, either at the time of choosing or at the time of death, rather than the one of the last residence.

The regulation means that all EU members have a common system of conflict-of-laws rules and creates a new instrument, the European Certificate of Succession, (Certificado Sucesorio Europeo) as proof of the status and rights of heirs, legatees, administrators and executors of the will and other issues related to the inheritance, within member states.

This regulation will be applied whatever nationality the deceased was and whatever law is going to regulate the inheritance as a whole, independently of whether the law is that of a member state of the EU or not.

The problems regarding international inheritance will now, for successions opened after that date, arise mainly with States not bound by this EU Regulation and, mainly, with those which split the regulation on successions in different laws, depending on the type of assets (movable or immovable). .

It may be useful to read (perhaps mainly for professional interest) about some new and old problems which can arise through EU and non EU laws being in conflict, as happens with British Law, “renvoi” or different legislations in Spain.

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