Challenging and contesting a Spanish Will, granted to a foreigner in Spain. Does Spanish or foreign law apply to the succession?


My english father, (a British national) died in Costa Blanca, Spain. He had lived as a resident in Spain for the past 12 years and was widower and I am his only daughter. He only had money in investments and accounts, but no real estate properties in Spain or England. In his Will he left everything to the person who looked after him in the last years of his life, but no provision at all has been made for me, although our relationship was good. Is it. possible to contest a Will in Spain?, Can I contest his Spanish Will for leaving nothing to me? What are the possibilities of challenging his Will or testament?


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your query.

In order to determine if you have rights on your fathers inheritance, and therefore if you can contest or dispute his will, we need to establish which is the applicable law to his succession:

.- English Law (his national law) or

.- Spanish Law, (the law of the country where he possibly had his domicile).

If the applicable Law is Spanish Inheritance Law then you, as his only daughter, would be entitled to inherit as a forced heir, 2/3 of his assets.

Firstly, ( at least until the 17th of August 2015 when the European Regulation 650/2012 will be applicable) as per the article 9.8 of the Spanish Civil Code the applicable law is the national law of the deceased, that means the Law of England & Wales.

But as you may know the Law of England & Wales states that in relation to moveable assets the law of the country of domicile of the deceased should be applied, and for immoveable property (Land or buildings) the law of the country where the property is located should apply.

In your case, because your father’s estate is only moveable assets, the applicable law will be the law of the country of domicile of your father.

If we understand that your father has domicile in Spain, (the concept of domicile as per English law is complex), then the Spanish law will apply and you will have the right to inherit 2/3 of the estate, for the renvoi or re-sent from English Law to Spanish Law.

Spanish Court Precedents.

This renvoi from English to Spanish law has been accepted by the Spanish Courts, we highlight the following court precedents:

1.- Court order number 849 from the Spanish Supreme court of 23rd of September. Confirming a previous court order from the Malaga Province Audience of 18/12/1996.

2.-Court order number nº 282/2012 from the Alicante Province Audience of the 28th of May.

3.- Court order number 331/2011 from the Murcia Province Audience of the 30th of november.

If you want to contest a Will, or if someone wants to dispute your testament and you need your will defending. Or if you want to know if there are any possible grounds for challenging it , please let us assist you.

The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.

For more information check our service: CONTEST A SPANISH WILL.

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White & Baos Lawyers

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