• At the time of preparing your own inheritance, investments such as life insurance policies may be considered.
  • You can prepare your own inheritance by way of gift, thus distributing and transferring all or part of your assets before your actual death.
  • The usual process in estate planning is making a will or testament or other disposition of property upon death like a joint will, or in an agreement as to succession in those parts of Spain where this is permitted. These last two involve some other people regarding the inheritance, and therefore the individual revocation of the will is not allowed.

    If there is no last will, joint will, or an agreement as to succession, or if no inheritor is named in any of them, the successor will be the legal inheritor.

    In some regions of Spain with particular civil legislation (Derecho Foral), all of the above (testament, joint will, agreement as to succession) are permitted. They can be used by Spaniards with the corresponding «Vecindad Civil» and by foreigners as is established by the rules of international inheritance.

    In Spanish Civil (common) law it is only possible to use the individual testament. The testament is the disposition of property upon death, which is individual and modifiable by the sole will of the testator during his or her whole lifetime.
    A new will revokes any previous will, unless the testator states differently in the last one, ordering that the previous one subsists in full or in part.

    In the testament you can name heirs and/or legatees and appoint an executor of your will.

    So the main purposes of the last will are to name a successor and to deal with the distribution of assets. Regarding this distribution, the testator must comply with certain restrictions such as those concerning the reserved share , the reserva and the the «derecho de reversion».

    In the last will you can also make some other statements regarding measures to be taken with minors or concerning disabled people.

    The last will is by its nature a serious and formal document. It is also necessary to take into account what is ruled for international inheritance and that it mainly focuses on (regarding form) the validity of the existing will.

    In Spanish law a Notarial Testament is most common but others are also possible on an ordinary basis, although not really advisable, such as the testament written directly by the testator ( The Testamento Ológrafo). Others are ruled for really extreme circumstances in which it is not feasible to find a notary, such as finding oneself in imminent danger of death and, unfortunately applicable now, the the last will in times of epidemics.

    To order your succession on Spanish assets, it is advisable to make a will before a Spanish notary. However, a will made under any of the laws listed here will be valid in Spain.

    At the time of making a will you must be aware that as you can choose the law to be applied to your succession, you can only choose one law, so you can not choose a different law to order your inheritance for your Spanish Assets from that for your foreign assets. If Spanish immovable assets are included in the succession, unless there is a single beneficiary of the estate, a public deed must be made, either by all the beneficiaries or by an executor who is known in Spain as «Contador Partidor». This executor will also be capable of sharing out the assets within the matrimonial property regime with the surviving spouse with no need to involve any of the other beneficiaries.

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