What is renvoi?

What does renvoi mean?

When there is an international inheritance,that is one with a foreign connection, there may be several different countries’ regulations involved, so the authority who is dealing with the proceedings (Court or Land Registry) will firstly check which of the laws will be applied (that of the nationality of the deceased, or the beneficiaries, or the residence of any of these, or the location of the assets, or the place of making the will, etc.)

The different laws deal with these issues in a special kind of ruling called Private International Law “ Derecho Internacional Privado” which states which of the possible rulings are to be applied.

The authority will check this using its own law (in Spain, Spanish Law for successions opened before 17th August 2015; or EU Regulation for successions opened on or after 17th August 2015).

If the law which is applicable under Spanish Private International Law » Derecho Internacional Privado» regulations, rules that the applicable law is that of another country, this is called «renvoi».

The renvoi can be made to the first law ( Spanish law in this case, which is called first degree renvoi) or to another country’s law ( second degree renvoi)

In Spanish Private international law:

.- Before 17th August 2015, the renvoi to a different law was not permitted, unless the renvoi was made to Spanish Law.

.-From 17th August 2015, the renvoi is mandatory when the law of a third State makes a renvoi to the law of a EU Member State bound by the EU Regulation (as happens when British Law makes a renvoi to Spanish Law where the immovable assets are located) but the renvoi will not be made if the testator has expressed a choice for the law of his or her nationality in the will.

This makes the advisability of making a choice of law even clearer for British nationals who are residents in Spain or have some immovable property in Spain.

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