Crossborder Inheritance

On August 17th, 2015, the European Regulation of Succession (UE Regl. 650/12) will come into effect, which, in addition to harmonizing the execution of the succession procedures in the European Union, will introduce a substantial amendment that will dramatically affect the nationals of a country who are residing in another country of the European Union.

Thus, it states that, if a specific Will is lacking, the Law that regulates the succession of the expatriate will be the Law of the country of habitual residence, not his National Law, as had been the case previously.

In this manner, the inheritance of a non Spanish citizen who had his habitual residence in Spain at the time of his death will be distributed according to the Spanish Law on Succession, namely the Civil Code. This could imply, for example, that the Inheritance becomes subject to the limitations that the Civil Code established for the forced heirs: the ownership of all assets will belong to the descendants (or to the ascendants if there are no offspring), and the spouse will

 only receive the usufruct (beneficial ownership) of a third, if the spouse must share the inheritance with descendants, or a half if there are ascendants.

Consequently, it is highly recommended that all expatriates update their Will.

The best solution is to create a Will in the country of your nationality, in the country where you posses real estate and in the country of your habitual residency. All these Wills will have to be consistent with one another. In this way we prevent that the succession of the deceased will be regulated by a law that seems foreign to him, which could imply that the destination of his assets could be very different than the one he had expected or foreseen.

Advice to expatriates is consistent in NEXOR LEGAL. Our professionals are trained in the management of different jurisdictions and regulations of various nationalities in order to arrive at the best legal solution for our clients.