Settling an estate in Spain: practical course of action?

What if you receive an inheritance in Spain? If the testator lived in Belgium or the Netherlands, you will have to settle the estate both in Spain and in the home country. Therefore, in this post, we will discuss the practical process of settling an estate in Spain using 5 steps.

The video below is a summary of this blog created using artificial intelligence.

Step 1: collection of necessary documentation

The first step consists of preparing the file. The documents required are:

  • (International) death certificate;
  • copy of the notarised deed of the Spanish property;
  • recent copy of the IBI/SUMA;
  • Deed of succession drawn up by a Belgian notary, or the European Certificate of Succession drawn up by a Belgian notary or a Spanish will;
  • translated and legalised deed of succession or translated and legalised European Certificate of Succession;
  • A statement from the Spanish bank showing the name of the holders and the bank account number;
  • de permiso de circulacíon (registration certificate) y ficha technica (technical sheet) of the car. 


Note: although in principle a European Certificate of Succession does not need to be translated, Spanish notariats do require an affidavit translation.

Step 2: Determine what the inheritance in Spain entails

Based on the above documentation, we can determine which assets and liabilities are in the Spanish estate. Typically, these include property, bank accounts and a means of transport.

The valuation of the property is purely administrative. The reference value is the minimum value we are allowed to include in the estate deed. Taxes are calculated based on the reference value. This tax valuation can also be used for the estate declaration for Flemish inheritance tax.

Note: the testator sometimes turns out not to be the sole owner of the property. Indeed, the registration of ownership information is not always up to date. For example, a pre-deceased partner or parent may still be registered as the owner. In this situation, we should then include the heirs of all testators.

Read more about the tax valuation of property in Spain.

Step 3: Drawing up the notarised power of attorney

With a notarised power of attorney, we can represent your family (the heirs) in Spain. Specifically, with a power of attorney we can take care of the following points:

  • requesting outstanding documents from Spanish government agencies and banks;
  • applying for NIE numbers for the heirs;
  • Preparation and signing of the deed;
  • filing the various tax returns.


We can have a notarised power of attorney executed before a Belgian notary. And without the sworn translation of the power of attorney. This way, the settlement of an estate in Spain can be done entirely from Belgium. So none of your family needs to travel to Spain.

Learn more about a notarised power of attorney here.

Step 4: Calculation of taxes

When inheriting in Spain, there are two types of taxes. First, there is inheritance tax. Usually the inheritance tax in Spain for direct line heirs is not dramatically high. Indeed, several autonomous regions have high exemptions or reductions. Consider, for example, the EUR 1,000,000 exemption in Andalusia.

Learn more about inheritance tax in Spain here.

In addition, there is a municipal capital gains tax or plusvalia municipal. This is a tax on cadastral capital gains.

Find more information on the plusvalia municipal here.

Note: If the testator was resident in Flanders, Flemish inheritance tax also applies to property located in Spain. So you also pay Flemish inheritance tax on property located in Spain.

Step 5: The execution of the estate deed in Spain and the declaration of estate

The fifth step is the execution of the estate deed before a Spanish notary. Also, the declaration and payment of taxes will be done. We will also need to register your new title deeds at the registry office, update the Spanish bank account and update the car's registration certificate.

You are required to file estate declaration in Spain within six months After death of the testator.

Here you will find detailed information on estate declaration in Spain.

Does the inheritance go through a Belgian or Spanish notary?

If the testator lived in Belgium, you will initially address a Belgian notary. The Belgian notary will be the certificate or deed of succession draw up. Based on this certificate or deed, the Spanish notary will distribute the inheritance in Spain.

If the testator was resident in Spain and did not own assets in Belgium, only a Spanish notary will be needed.

When can I sell the property in the estate?

You can sell the property as soon as the estate was settled and you are the registered owner.

Do you have questions about an inheritance in Spain or settling an estate in Spain? If so, please do not hesitate to contact include.

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