Widow’s reserved share

The surviving rights of the deceased’s partner in the foral regions are also, mainly, in usufructo

In Spain there are different regulations regarding successions ( Legislaciones Forales) in Galicia, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragón, Cataluña and Balearic Islands that will be applied to the inheritance of Spaniards with the corresponding “vecindad civil” and also to the inheritance of foreign nationals who did not make a choice of law and whose last habitual residence was in one of these regions.

Regarding the surviving rights of the deceased’s partner we must take the following into account:


  • In Mallorca and Menorca, a widow or widower who was not separated or who was separated but by the fault of the deceased, has the right of usufructo of half of the estate if there are descendants or of 2/3 two thirds of the estate if concur with the parents of the deceased. In all other cases the surviving spouse has the usufructo of the complete estate.

    Since 6-8-2017 If the partners are not legaly separated, or a court case separation at the time of death of one of them the surviving partner will maintain his or her rigths,

  • In Ibiza y Formentera: THE SURVIVING SPOUSE IS NOT A FORCED HEIR. If there is no last will, he or she has the usufructo of 2/3 of the estate if the inheritors are the parents of the deceased, or the usufructo of half of the estate if the inheritors are the descendants.


    If there are descendants, the surviving spouse has the right of usufructo over a quarter of the estate.

    If there are no descendants, the usufructo of the half of the estate.

    The testator can commute this right by ordering a rent or pension or giving some particular assets or an amount of money.

    The inheritors can do the same if the testator has not forbidden it, but the surviving spouse has preference to choose to be paid with the habitual residence, the premises where he or she practices their profession or the personal enterprise that was shared with the deceased. If there is no agreement in the value, the judicial authority will resolve the issue.


    The surviving spouse of someone that had the “ Navarro” “vecindad civil” has the life time usufructo of the whole estate.

    He or she has the obligations of payments of the debts of the deceased even if it is neccessary to sell, with the consent of the inheritors, and to administrate the estate with due diligence and to provide for the upkeep of the descendants of the deceased.

    This usufructo will be lost as a result of remarriage, cohabitation, an immoral life style or not complying intentionally with the above obligations or even unintentinally through negligence for a period of a year and a day.

    The testator can modify the rights and obligations in a limited way, thus giving the possibility of selling the assets, or of maintaining the usufructo even if there is a new marriage for example.


    The surviving spouse or unmmarried partner, is a forced heir with the right of usufructo over half of the estate if there are descendants, and two thirds in any other case.

    He or she also has the right to inhabit the house which was shared with the deceased while remaining a widow or widower and loses this right for having marital life, or a child outside marriage or a new unmarried partner.

    ARAGON In Aragon the surviving widow or widower will have the usufructo of all the assets within the estate. The testator can exclude from this usufructo assets to be bequeathed to non-common descendants up to a limit of half the estate.

    The testator who had the exclusive ownership of an enterprise or other private business, can order the acquirer to substitute the usufructo for a monthly payment.

    This right is indisposable, not even the creditors of the surviving partner can use it to satisfy their credits, but the widow or widower can agree with the inheritors the modification or the expiry of the right, or the selling of some assets, keeping the right over the new ones.

    The right will expire, as well as general reasons, by new marriage or marital cohabiting.


    A widow, widower, or unmarried partner, if not separated, who doesn’t have the usufructo of the assets, will have the right to reside in the habitual residence and to be sustained from the estate for one year following the death, according to the status and size of the patrimony.

    Will also have ownership of clothes, and furnishings which are not extraordinarily valuable.
    The testator can dispose of family heirlooms in favour of other people.

    Also, a widow, widower or unmarried partner who does not have enough assets to live according to his or her needs, can ask to be given what is necessary to do so, up to the limit of a quarter of the liquid value of the estate. The time to claim from the inheritor is within three years of the date of death. The right is only for the widow or widower or unmarried partner, so it will expire if he or she dies before claiming. It will expire if the widow, widower or unmarried partner re-marries or lives maritally before claiming it, or loses guardianship of the minors for serious misconduct.

    The most important right of the surviving partner in Cataluña is in the legal succession. It will be the inheritor if there are no descendants and if there are, will have the right of usufructo over the total estate which has not been disposed of by an agreement as to succession ( succession contract) or instead, at his or her election ( to be made within a year) a quarter of the estate plus the usufructo of the house of the habitual residence if it was the property of the deceased.

    Both rights continue for life and are not affected even if the surviving widow, widower or unmarried partner starts living with another person.

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