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Should I make a Spanish will if I own Spanish property?

Inheritance Law

Antonio Flores Vila

25th of August 2002

Q. I have a property in Tenerife. I am advised to make a Spanish Will as well as my English one. Can a Spanish Will handle this property if it is held in a UK Discretionary Trust for the benefit of my children?

Donald Hey
Grange-o-Sands, Cumbria

    A. I would like first to draw your attention to the fact that Spanish law does not recognise the validity of trusts, and therefore in Spain you would not be able to purchase property via this vehicle.

    Secondly, considering that the property was held by an offshore entity, a Spanish will would serve little purpose as all inheritance proceedings would take place out of the Spanish jurisdiction and thefore the Spanish taxman would not know that the shares of the company or entity, and ultimately the property, were being bequeathed. As far as the spanish Land Registry is concerned, there would be not alteration of ownership.

    If the property is owned directly by a physical person/s, it is then highly advisable to have a Spanish will drawn up, as it would avoid the need to have two jurisdictions involved in the inheritance proceedings.

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