On August 17, 2015 the Regulation of the EU 650/2012, 4th July, known by the name of European Regulation on Successions, a Law that changes the application of the International law in the field of of inheritance, because of death in which there is an international element, such as, for example, that the deceased was residing or had any property in the State different from that of its origin.
This European Regulation has been adopted by all Member States except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, which for this purpose are considered as third States. But its rules apply universally, that is to say, not only for nationals of EU States but also for those of any other State in the world. Consequently, the judges and notaries of the Member States will apply the same rules to the succession of a German or Spanish than to that of a Moroccan, an Argentine or a British.
The fundamental change is that the applicable law will be that of the State of habitual residence, and not that of its nationality, unless there is evident the will of which the succession should be ruled by the last one . That is, you can choose the applicable law. It is important to note that the law applicable to succession determines the limitations on the freedom to dispose of one’s inheritance when a person has descendants and / or a spouse, or other relatives.
So, a spanish resident abroad, or foreigner in Spain, must plan its future succession, mainly by means of a will, and must bear in mind that the applicable law is going to be that of the State of its habitual residence, and not that of its nationality, unless it manifiests the opposite.
In the particular case of the inheritance of a resident British citizen in Spain , it is necessary to bear in mind that the British law establishes the freedom of any person to dispose of the goods as it seems best to him at the time of death. Since that person is a resident, will be subject to Spanish law (which establishes the legal system with two thirds of the inheritance will be attributed to his descendants, another with the possibility of freely distributed by the deceased, the widowed spouse’s lifetime usufruct…). The same will happen with nationals of other states, who have their own rules when distributing the goods in case of death.
To avoid all this, if the person prefers to continue maintaining the application of his national law, he must express the applicable law, so that he can plan his succession and that it does not depend on the place where he resides at the moment of his death.
Share this Post
This post is also available in: English Español (Spanish)