QUERY: Hi, I am a British citizen and a Spanish close friend of mine has passed away appointed me in his Will as the sole and only beneficiary. He also pointed out in the Will that he did not want his parents to inherit as they had behaved badly with him along his life and had never been concerned about his health, wellbeing etc. Unfortunately he passed away (leaving no wife or children) and his parents are claiming their inheritance rights as parents. What can I do? Do they really have the right to inherit no matter what the Will states?
Thank you for your consultation.
I can understand from what you point out in your query, that your Spanish friend disinherited his parents and appointed you as the sole universal heir of his assets, therefore we must verify if this disinheritance is in line with the stated in article 848 and following of the Spanish Civil Code (CC).
First of all you should know that article 809 of the Spanish Civil Code states that when the Spanish Law is applicable to the succession (as in this case since the deceased was a Spanish national) the parents or ascendants (as long as the deceased leaves no children or spouse) shall be legitimately entitled to half of the estate that his children or descendants.
They can only lose this legitimate right if the disinheritance is done correctly; by any of the causes expressly specified by the law and only if it is stated in the Will as in your case.
You should also know that if the disinherited parents deny the cause for their disinheritance, you as the heiresses, will have to prove the reason on which the disinheritance is based is true, before the appropriate judge.
Article 854 of the CC states that in order to be able to disinherit parents and ascendants the just and reasonable causes will be among others the following:
– Abandonment, corruption or prostitution their children.
– Having been convicted in a trial of attempting against the life of the testator, his spouse, descendants or ascendants.
– Having lost the parental authority by a Court order based on the breach of duties inherent or consequence of a criminal or matrimonial process.
– Refused to feed his children or descendants without a legitimate reason.
As long as the causes set forth in the Spanish CC are the given ones, the disinheritance will be possible and you can inherit as designated in the Will.
On the contrary, if the disinherited are not in agreement with the reason for their disinheritance and initiate legal Court proceeding; in the event that the Judge understands that the reason given for the disinheritance is not true (remember that you will have to prove that it is), then as per the article 851 of the CC; your appointment as heir will be voided, when detrimental to the disinherited, but the legacies and other testamentary dispositions will remain valid as long as it does not harm the legitimate rights.
Should any reader be in this situation or similar please do not hesitate to contact us and the appropriate advice will be provided.
The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
Tel: 966 426 185
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