My father made a will in Spain leaving all of his Spanish assets to me. A few days later he made a new will in his country, England, leaving the real estate property located there to his other children, my brothers.
What my father wanted was for me to inherit the Spanish assets and my brothers the assets in England.
Apparently in the will made in England, although it only mentioned properties and investments situated there, it was not stated that it only covered the assets there and it did not exclude the Spanish assets. Also the English will included a clause that says that the rest of the assets (without saying which ones or where they are) should be inherited by my brothers.
Is the Spanish will valid or is it negated by the other will? Who should inherit the properties in Spain?
Thank you for your question.
In principle we must inform you that we cannot confirm the validity of a will signed in Spain by an expatriate, which may be in conflict with another will signed in a different country, without first studying carefully the wills and circumstances of the case.
We can however say in general that:
- It should be determined which law is applicable to the inheritance and that will decide whether the Spanish will remains valid or not.
- Generally, but as mentioned above depending on what is the applicable law to the inheritance;
- a) The later will revokes the previous one. Normally, it is understood that the later will (the one granted by your father outside Spain without limiting it to a specific territory), revokes the previous will (in your case the Spanish will which was signed previously) and in support of this, article 739 of the Spanish Civil Code, states:
The previous will is revoked legally by the later valid will, unless the testator does not express in his will that he want that the old one to subsist in whole or in part.
- b) It is also true that the will, wish, intention of the testator is fundamental when interpreting a will, so it could apply in your case and if it is possible to confirm that the intention of the testator was to make a Spanish will for the assets in Spain, and for the other will to cover the assets outside of Spain and we can prove it, the validity of the Spanish will could be successfully argued.
Finally, if all those who have been named as beneficiaries in the Spanish and English wills are in agreement about the intention of the testator, in principle they could accept the validity of the Spanish will.
In any case, we remind readers that it is essential if you have several wills in several countries, to make clear what assets are covered in each will, in order to avoid conflict between wills and avoid problems like the one commented on in this article.
For any inquiries about wills or inheritances 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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