Can the lack of relationship between a parent and his/her children be a cause for their disinheritance?

Can the lack of relationship between a parent and his/her children be a cause for their disinheritance?

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Can the lack of relationship between a parent and his/her children be a cause for their disinheritance? Expert legal advice by Spanish Lawyers.

According to the Spanish National Institute of Statistics, in 2022, divorces increased by 12 per cent compared to the previous year. Tensions caused in family relationships by this and other cases, often result in parents and children breaking off contact. Can the lack of a relationship between a child and a parent be a reason to disinherit the child? We address this issue in today’s article, with the help of a recent Supreme Court ruling.

According to the Spanish Civil Code, in Spain, children are entitled to 2/3 of their parent’s inheritance. Therefore, parents cannot make a will that prejudices the hereditary reserve of their children. If they do so, the will would not be valid. However, the Spanish Civil Code also foresees the possibility of disinheriting children, as long as certain conditions are met. Art. 853 specifically foresees two: denying maintenance without a justified cause and mistreating a parent or seriously insulting him/her.

The mistreatment of a parent has been understood, traditionally, as physical aggression. However, in ruling 258/2014, the Spanish Supreme Court opened the door to also extend it to “psychological abuse”. However, the Supreme Court was not very specific in describing the facts of the exact case behind this reasoning. It merely stated, very succinctly, that for seven years there had been no relationship between father and children. Without specifying much more about the case, making it very difficult to draw conclusions. As a result, until now, it was not very clear whether the lack of relationship between a parent and his/her child could be classified as emotional abuse.

Ruling 419/2022 clears up some of the confusion. In principle, the lack of a relationship does not constitute, per se, psychological mistreatment. It will be necessary to study the specific circumstances of each case: the reason why there is no relationship between them, conclusive proof that this absence of a relationship has caused damage or injury to the mental health of the testator, etc.

At White Baos Lawyers we are experts in Inheritance and Family Law, preparation of wills and also contesting them in court. If you have any questions or doubts about this or other legal matters, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will study your case and offer you expert legal advice.

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Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

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.


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