Carlos Baos – Ineligibility to inherit and disinheritance in Spain: A legal insight

Inheritance proceedings can be a thorny issue when there is a bad relationship between certain relatives. Especially in countries such as ours, where the law establishes that a large part of the assets of the deceased, are reserved for certain heirs such as the ascendants (parents) or the descendants (kids, grandkids, etc.). In today’s article we delve into two legal notions that are often misunderstood: ineligibility to inherit and disinherit proceedings.

Disinheritance in Spain: Legal Framework

Article 848 et seq. of the Spanish Civil Code outlines the specific grounds for ascendants, descendants, spouses, etc. to be disinherited. As an overview, we underline the most significant ones:

  • Conviction for plotting harm against the life of the testator, their spouse or partner, or grandchildren and grandparents.
  • Refusal to provide maintenance to the testator by he/she is the ascendant or descendant of the testator.
  • Slanderously accusing the testator of a crime.
  • For ascendants, experiencing the loss of parental authority over their children or grandchildren.
  • Abandonment, engaging in prostitution, or promoting corruption of children.

Ineligibility to Inherit: Understanding the Concept

Causes of unworthiness are outlined in Art. 756 of the Civil Code. In summary:

  • Threatening the testator through fraud or violence to influence a will.
  • Preventing the testator from making or revoking a will.
  • Conviction for attempting against the life of the testator or exercising violence against them, their spouse, partner, or ascendants/descendants.
  • Accusing the testator of a severe crime and being convicted for false denunciation.


So, what exactly is the difference between them?

These two figures may appear to be quite alike. In fact, both share causes that overlap. However, the differences between the two are substantial.

Ineligibility applies to both testate and intestate inheritances. Also, the events that spark the disinheritance must precede the testator’s death, while the causes for unworthiness can occur after. Another key difference is that the causes of disinheritance can only affect legitimate descendants, whereas the causes of unworthiness can be applied to any heir.

Finally, the ineligibility requires a judicial decision (unlike the disinheritance, which is determined by the testator). However, should the disinherited heir contest the validity of the disinheritance cause, the responsibility to prove its validity will shift to the remaining heirs. This underscores the importance of precisely articulating the cause and its underlying basis in the will.

When dealing with potential causes of ineligibility and disinheritance, seeking specialized legal guidance becomes indispensable. At White-Baos Lawyers we will thoroughly examine your case and provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

White & Baos.

Tel: +34 966 426 185


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