Challenge and contest Wills and acceptance and adjudication of Inheritance Deeds in Spain. Forced heirs. Inheritances of foreigners in Spain

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OUR practice has been able to help numerous clients to successfully contest Wills in Spain, by establishing the invalidity of inheritance deeds signed here before a Spanish notary. For a lawyer to determine whether it is legally possible to help a client to contest a Will or inheritance, the following is essential:

1 – Determine the law applicable to the succession or inheritance

Although it is intended to challenge or try to annul a Will or inheritance in Spain, it will not always be achieved based on Spanish law. Therefore, it is necessary to determine first, which is the law applicable to the succession, according to the European Regulation 650/2012. Depending on the applicable law, the grounds for challenge may be different.

Thus, for example, Spanish, French, Belgian law, provide for a series of compulsory and forced rights or hereditary reservation, in favour of children, spouses, etc. If these are not respected, the will and inheritance could be challenged and annulled. Other laws such as English, Scottish, provide certain rights for people who are dependents of the deceased. German law provides for a right of credit in favour of certain relatives, who can in some cases, claim against the heirs.

In the case of Spaniards, it is simpler, but for the inheritances of foreigners in Spain, it is essential to determine if their national law or the law of their habitual residence will apply.

2 – Spanish law. Preterition of forced heirs

Spanish law states that the descendants of the deceased are entitled to 2/3rds of the assets of the inheritance. According to article 808 of the Civil Code (CC). If the will has not left sufficient provision in their favour, this omission, known as PRETERITION, may result in the total or partial nullity of the will.

3 – Possibility to Rescind and Cancel the inheritance deeds

In addition, in the event that an inheritance deed is signed, omitting the forced heirs, this notarial deed could even be terminated or declared null and void, according to article 1080 of the CC, if it could be shown that it had been signed in bad faith.

Conclusion: If you wish to challenge, contest or annul a Will or an inheritance related to Spanish assets, and especially if the deceased was a foreigner (ie not Spanish), it is essential to determine the law applicable to the succession and the possible reasons for challenge it.

Even if the inheritance deed had been signed before a Spanish notary, the nullity or resolution of the same could be requested, in some cases, such as the preterition of forced heirs or nullity of the Will due to lack of correct procedures.

If you want expert advice on this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. At White-Baos we are experts in court claims related to wills and inheritances. We will study your case and offer you expert advice.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it merely conveys information related to legal issues.

Carlos Baos

White & Baos.

Tel: +34 966 426 185


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Written by

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

Lawyer Carlos Baos has been advising on variety of expat-related legal issues for years and weekly column offers free weekly insights.