Regulation of European Union en matters of succession. European Certification of Succession. II

Inheritance in Marbella and SpainFollowing our post REGULATION OF EUROPEAN UNION IN MATTERS OF SUCCESSION. EUROPEAN CERTIFICATE OF SUCCESSION.I (see here) Regulation No. 650/2012 is coming to unify the different European rules on succession matters and the granting of a European Certificate of Succession.


Inheritance, Wills and succession in Spain


In a later post will discuss the main characteristic of this European Certificate of Succession, although now will provide you some guides about the Regulation 650/2012, which comes into effect on August 17, 2015.

This Regulation establishes as general rule that the law applicable to the succession as a whole shall be the law of the State in which the deceased had his habitual residence at the time of death (we will not come to regard as this rule affects our internal law that states that the succession shall be governed by the national law of the deceased at the time of his death … (art. 9.8 Civil Code).

Where, by way of exception, it is clear from all the circumstances of the case that, at the time of death, the deceased was manifestly more closely connected with a State other than the State whose law would be applicable under paragraph 1, the law applicable to the succession shall be the law of that other State.

Which law is applicable at the time of an Inheritance procedure in Spain?


A person may choose as the law to govern his succession as a whole the law of the State whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death.

How we make sure which law applicable to a Spanish Inheritance?

A choice of law should be made expressly in a declaration in the form of a disposition of property upon death or be demonstrated by the terms of such a disposition.

What about Spanish Wills drafted before the implementation of the Regulation, that is, Wills made prior to 17th August 2015?

Where the deceased had chosen the law applicable to his succession prior to 17 August 2015, that choice shall be valid if it meets the conditions above mentioned (rules of habitual residence or rules of nationally expressly chosen) or if it is valid in application of the rules of private international law which were in force, at the time the choice was made, in the State in which the deceased had his habitual residence or in any of the States whose nationality he possessed.


United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark nationals.

While this Regulation shall not be applicable in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark if you are resident in Spain this new regulations concerning the applicable law at the time of an Inheritance procedure will still be the Spanish law, unless expressly (by granting a Will) have chosen the law of your nationality.

If you granted a Will before the entry appliance of this Regulation (17th August 2015), we shall recommend to ensure that the same is properly drafted, clearly designating the law applicable to the succession.

Also, a Spanish person residing abroad (either the European Union or otherwise), shall grant a Will specifically stating that the law applicable to his succession will be the Spanish law (national law), otherwise the law of his habitual residence applicable , as from the 17th August 2015.

Contact our law firm in Marbella now to avoid future troubles to your family due to a potential Inheritance procedure in Spain.

It will be a pleasure to provide you with tailored advice whether you have already granted a Will in Spain or not.

Félix Ruiz, Lawyer in Marbella

  • Wim Lamers
  • Inheritance Marbella, Lawyers in Marbella, Spanish Inheritance Tax, Spanish law firm,

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