Inheritance in Spain: what documents do I need?

In a previous article on inheritance in Spain we explained the process of settling an inheritance. In this article, we will give a practical explanation of what documents you need to collect for an estate in Spain according to the regulations of the Spanish Dirección General de los Registros y el Notariado (similar to the National Chamber of Notaries).

Death certificate

To prove before a Spanish notary that the testator has died, you need the death certificate. In addition, you need to have the document translated by a sworn translator and to have an apostille. Alternatively, you can obtain a international death certificate applications. This will save you translation and legalisation costs.

You can request the death certificate from the municipality where the testator died.

Find more info on the death certificate here.

There is a will

If the testator made a will, you should also submit the will to the notary in Spain. Again, it is important that you have the will translated by a sworn translator and provided with an apostille. In addition, you need to obtain a copy from the Belgian Central Register of Wills showing that this is the testator's last will and testament. This copy should also be translated by affidavit.

If the testator has a Spanish will, the settlement will be faster. You will then obviously not need a translation or an apostille. Just make sure you bring the original will with you. You can find the most recent Spanish will in the Spanish Register of Wills (Registro de Últimas Voluntades). Moreover, do not forget to attach the extract from the register.

Read more about a Spanish will for non-residents.

There is no will: European Certificate of Succession

If there is no will, the succession is established through the European Certificate of Succession. This allows you to prove that you are heir to the Spanish part of the estate. A European Certificate of Succession is drawn up by a Belgian notary. Spanish notaries usually require a sworn translation of a European Certificate of Succession.

In practice, they also accept deed or certificate of inheritance. You should then translate this document into Spanish and add an apostille.

Documents relating to the assets and liabilities in the estate

It is evident that you can prove the components of the estate. Usually, these are the notarised deed of a property in Spain. In addition, there will also be Spanish bank accounts. We can obtain the current and tax-accepted value of the Spanish property for you.

Statement of municipal tax (only for property)

This is only necessary if you inherit Spanish property. Based on the annual municipal tax statement, you can determine the tax value of the property. On this basis, the inheritance tax and plusvalia muncipal tax calculated.

NIE number

Before you can go to the notary in Spain, you need an NIE number. This is, among other things, an identification number for Spanish taxes. Without a NIE number, the notary cannot arrange the transfer. You can apply for a NIE number at the Spanish Consulate in Brussels or at a local police station in Spain.

Learn more about applying for a NIE number here.

Practical settlement of estate in Spain

Once you have collected all the documents, you can go to the Spanish notary. After you have paid the inheritance tax and plusvalia muncipal due, your title deeds will be drawn up and registered.

Confianz can assist you with estate settlement in Spain. With a notarial proxy Moreover, we can represent you in Spain and handle the transfer in full.

Last update: January 2021.

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