My father died some time ago and recently my mother has also passed away. They had several properties in Spain and we would like to be advised and informed about how we should proceed with the Spanish inheritance tax and if it is appropriate to appoint a Spanish lawyer to assist us. Thank you.
First of all, we are sorry for your loss.
Secondly and in relation to your question, we would like to inform you that;
Services of a Spanish lawyer – We believe (and we do not say this because we are lawyers) that it is very important to have advice from an expert lawyer, because good legal advice can often save you a significant amount in expenses and taxes, not only at the time of receiving the inheritance, but also in the future.
Documentation necessary for inheritances in Spain – A Spanish lawyer can help you to obtain the necessary documents for the probate process in Spain in an easier way than if you try to attempt this yourself.
The main document and the first one that must be obtained, is the death certificate and then a certificate from the registry of Wills should be obtained, confirming details of the last valid Will registered (if any).
The Will is an essential document and if the Will or testament that governs the inheritance in Spain has been created for a foreigner and is not in Spanish then you must obtain a sworn translation and the apostille (in accordance with the Hague Convention).
In addition, it is more than likely that you will also have to obtain confirmation from the appropriate authorities in the country of residence/birth of the deceased, confirming it as being the last valid testament (e.g. Probate in the UK or Ireland, etc.).
Likewise, documents showing the assets and properties which are part of the inheritance will be necessary.
Advice and tips regarding inheritance tax in Spain.
A fundamental aspect on which you should obtain advice on an inheritance in Spain is the fiscal or tax aspect. Such advice should only be given by a specialist lawyer, as strategies may be different depending on each specific case.
Sometimes sensible management of an inheritance can also help to minimize the income tax for a future sale.
If, for example, your parents bought the property in Spain a long time ago at a very low price, if they were to sell it now, they would have a pay a significant sum as Capital Gains Tax.
If however, you as children inherit, there are important tax benefits in the tax rules and you may only have to pay a small amount of Inheritance Tax.
In addition, you could updated the registered value of the property, which will make the capital gains tax to be paid by you in any future sale after the inheritance and this would be considerably less than what your parents would have had to pay if they had sold whilst still alive.
It is important to obtain adequate legal advice on the value of the properties which form part of the estate, as sometimes, depending on whether or not they will be sold after the inheritance, the country of tax residence of the heir, the strategy could be different and with good advice, the heirs could save a significant amount in taxes.
Registration and property registry update. Similarly it may be possible even now to update the value of the property for a possible subsequent sale.
If you need advice or legal advice about probate or succession and inheritance tax in Spain, or want to prepare your affairs in an effective way, contact us and we will help you.
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)
White & Baos
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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