It’s almost two years now since COVID came to our lives to make the world as we knew it collapse. It kept us in a lockdown for months, made us to keep big distances, to stop hugging, and to have a very different relationship amongst us…
Besides this, and unfortunately, lots of people, perhaps even yourself, have lost some of their beloved ones. Sometimes, together with the pain for such a big loss, overcomes the uncertainty about what to do, because all the bureaucratic procedures to complete for putting the inheritance in order are a lot and really complicated, and, of course, not easy to afford in this situation.
This is quite more complicated if you are not Spanish and/or live out of Spain, and some of the assets left by that beloved person are in Spain. We, of course, are talking about those persons that passed away because of COVID19 (or any other reason), and had any property or bank account in Spain, something that has to besolved, and it’s terribly difficult to someone not in the legal sector, and much more if you are not familiar to the Spanish legal system, because most of the legal systems state that the inheritance of those properties sited in Spain are ruled by the Spanish Law.
So, the first thing to be checked is if that person you lost left any last will related to the goods and assets sited in Spain. For that, a certificate from the Last Wills Register will be necessary, and to obtain it you’ll need a Death Certificate. If your relative passed away out of Spain, the Death Certificate must have the Apostille.
Should a last will exist, the inheritance will be assigned according to it (in the goo understanding that nor of the dispositions are invalid), prior to which an inventory of goods, assets and debts must be done.
Should not existe a last will, the thing comes more complicated (that’s why we always advise our clients to make a Spanish will), because prior to assign the inheritance we should make a Heirs Declaration, that will delay the procedure and make it a bit more expensive.
Spanish Law rules the ab intestato inheritance, stating that, should someone pass away without leaving a last will, his/her relatives in descending line will be appointed as heirs; should he/she not have relatives in descending line, the relatives in ascending line will be appoint as heirs; shouls he/she not have them, the widow/widower will be appointed as heirs; and in case there should be not any of them, then his/her collaterals (brothers/sisters, and nephews/nices, in this order) will be appointed as heirs.
To do the Heirs Declaration it will be also necessary to have the oficial documents that show the relationship of the persons to be appointed as heirs with the deceased one. If these documents are not Spanish, they’ll need to have the Apostille.
So that, if you are not Spanish, and you have lost someone that left goods and assets in Spain, it would be extremely advisable (for not to say necessary) to hire a solicitor to assist you all Along this procedure and that, even, could get on with all the necessary steps on your behalf, on the basis of a power of attorney (PoA), that must be given before a Notary Public (there’s a possibility to give the PoA in those Spanish Embassies and Consulates offering Notary Services).
This will give you not only legal protection and certainty, but also will release you from a lot of bureaucracy for which, after losing a loved one, you will not have always the peace of mind needed.