Spanish Inheritance Law states that when you die your property will be shared among your heirs according to the law of your residence. It is a common misconception that as a foreigner you have to leave your assets in accordance with Spanish law, which imposes certain “forced heirs”.
A “foreigner” that is resident in Spain can make a Spanish Will leaving their own property to the person of their choice. This Will must contain a declaration that their personal law is governed by the principle of free disposition of property by testament. This is then acceptable to the Central Wills Registry in Spain. Generally speaking a valid Spanish will is sufficient to dispose of the estate as you wish.
If a foreign resident dies domiciled in Spain the estate will be distributed according to Spanish law. Domicile is not the same as Tax Residence.
Inheritance tax on property or assets in Spain has to be paid in Spain. The property or assets also have to be declared back in the UK although due to Double Taxation Laws you can offset the tax paid in Spain against the tax payable in the UK.
Spanish Inheritance Tax rates
The rate of inheritance tax payable in Spain will depend on four things;
- The relationship between the person who died and the beneficiaries
- The amount that each beneficiary receives
- The individual wealth of each beneficiary
- The autonomous region of Spain that applies
Inheritance tax is a tax on the individual beneficiaries rather than the estate as a whole.
Each Autonomous region of Spain sets its own Inheritance Tax rates and therefore also sets the tax-free allowances that apply. There is a trend towards these tax-free allowances to increase, meaning that even though there is no total exemption between husband and wife there is often an increasing amount that can be inherited without having to pay any tax.
The rates of Inheritance Tax in Spain for a given amount change according to the area of Spain. An example is as follows. Multipliers may also apply to these figures depending on the relationship between the parties and the wealth of the beneficiaries.
Base Tax Payable
Remainder Taxed at
Up to €7,993.46
Need help with inherited property in Spain?
Our UK-based team of property lawyers are highly experienced in helping clients who have inherited property in Spain, including where you wish to keep the property or plan to sell the property you have inherited.
If you own property in Portugal, we can also help you with making a Spanish Will.
With a thorough understanding of both UK and Spanish law, we can provide clear, reliable legal guidance in plain English, giving you the confidence to deal effectively with inherited property in Spain.