How to protect your cash in a Spanish bank on death!

I read an article in a newspaper about a gentleman who was concerned that when his wife passes away that their bank in Spain will freeze the account and he will not have access to the funds.

Unfortunately this is very common across Spain and it means that the surviving spouse may not use the funds in the account to pay Spanish Probate or Inheritance Taxes that will be due on their cash and property that they may own in Spain. Not only is this a very distressing situation but the beneficiary only has 6 months to probate in Spain otherwise fines and interest may be charged by the Tax Office in Spain.

Our suggestion: to avoid this happening, if you own a property in Spain, is to instruct Wincham to invest your property into an individually owned UK Limited Company. We can facilitate the process from start to finish for you in about 4 weeks or more quickly if needed.

Once the property is owned by the client’s UK Company the owners receive shares in exchange for their investment. These shares are then the assets, owned by them and it is those shares which are subject to Taxation outside of Spain. One demonstration of the advantage here is that if the owners are British and also married and leaves their half to each other then they will inherit under UK Law, where Inheritance Tax is exempt between spouses, unlike Spain, where a spouse only receives an allowance of €15,957 if they are not classed as Resident of Spain when inheriting.

After registering the property to the UK Company our office in Spain will help the clients Company setup a bank account in Spain, and then move all the utility, Suma, IBI and other bills into the Company name and bank account. After this is completed then the property owners do not require a personal bank account in Spain and all their funds can be held in their own Company bank account which does not become frozen on death unlike a personal account that does.

Wincham has been established since 1994 and we believe that we are the market leader in helping clients own property in Spain via a UK Limited Company structure and if you would like to hear of the many more benefits then please contact one of our Consultants in the UK or Spain on the details below. Our Consultants will also supply a free of charge Spanish Inheritance illustration demonstrating the Tax liabilities that the beneficiaries of the property may have when the property passes between individual people’s names.

Finally I would like to refer the point in another previous article that mentioned Inheritance Tax in the Region of Catalonia is being reviewed. It is very important to be aware that each Region of Spain can set it owns laws for Residents but beneficiaries who inherit as non-Residents of Spain are taxed by the central Tax Office in Madrid, even if the deceased was Resident of Spain, which in most cases is the situation that we find, so the Regional Laws are irrelevant in these situations.

This information has been supplied by Mark Roach, Spanish Tax Consultant & Company Director.

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