New EU Inheritance Law

The new EU Inheritance Law (EU Regulation 650/2012) will take effect in August 2015.

EU Inheritance law

The main novelty regarding this new law is that, unless the deceased specifically opted on their will for the laws of their country of birth to be applied when managing their Estate on their death, the laws that will be applicable by default when somebody dies are the laws of the country where the deceased had their habitual residency.

More than 12 million Europeans currently reside in a EU country different tan their own.  This means that, every year, there are around 450.000 inheritances processed, valued at over €120 billion. The different inheritance laws applied in the 27 EU Member States can cause more than a legal headache for already grieving families.

Therefore, if you are (or you are planning to become) a resident in Spain, it is a good idea to make sure that your Will has a statement in which you specifically choose your national law (i.e. British or Irish Law) to be applied when dealing with your Estate on your death. If you do not do this, when you pass on the laws applied to your Spanish assets will be the Spanish inheritance laws, which are intrinsically very different to British ones, for example.

So, if you want to carry on being free to leave your Spanish Estate to whomever you wish, you need to ensure that you say so in your Spanish will. EU Inheritance Law is very specific now, so if you have read your will and cannot find anything of the sort, our advice is that you sign a new one, making sure that this statement is included. Then you will have peace of mind.

If you would like further assistance in this matter, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always pleased to see you!

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