When a person passes away, their estate must be distributed among the heirs, who must proceed to divide the deceased’s assets.
In Spain, this distribution or allocation of assets of the deceased person’s estate can be formalised in front of a notary, when all heirs agree, or before a judge in case of discrepancies on three matters: which assets make up the estate, their worth, and how they should be distributed. In some cases, doubts may arise regarding the heirs or the testament’s validity.
Even if the estate is distributed before a notary, it is convenient to receive counsel from a lawyer. A legal expert may even be able to help you mediate among the heirs in case they disagree on certain matters.
WHAT TO DO IF…
The first thing to do when a person passes is to obtain a death certificate from the Civil Registry; with that in hand, it is possible to obtain a Last Will and Testament Certificate to know the last written will of the deceased.
With this information, we can now head to the notary to obtain a copy of the testament and know the deceased’s last will. If there is no will, a Declaration of Heirs needs to be made, which can also be done before the notary.
Finally, it is important to remember to pay the inheritance tax, for which there is a 6 month period which can be extended for a further 6 months. This extension must be requested in the first 5 months after the death.
My father has passed away; he has two living children, but we want our mother to be the one to enjoy his estate while she still lives.
Our parents had an apartment in Madrid and another one at the beach. However, now that we want to distribute the estate between both sons we don’t know how to go about it, as the value of both properties is different and we both want the one in Madrid.
Our mother never wrote a last will and testament, so we have had to go to the notary to get a Declaration of Heirs. We want to reach an agreement regarding the distribution of assets, but it’s difficult because we haven’t spoken to one of our siblings in a long time.