If you already own or considering buying a property on the Costa del Sol or anywhere else in Spain with the intention to live here then how your estate is handled should you pass away is a consideration you seriously need to think about.

In the UK or Ireland for example when you make a will you can decide who your estate is left to but in Spain the succession law as it is known is different.

In Spain any children and the legal beneficiaries and they receive the bulk of the estate which amounts to around two thirds of the total inheritance. The other third is left to your own discretion.

Now for most families this would not be a problem but when people have remarried or there have been disputes and fall outs in the family unit then this ruling could cause a lot of problems for the surviving spouse.

Previous to this just having a Spanish that contained your wishes was enough but with a new law that just came into effect this week it states that “EU citizens habitually residing in Spain (Residents) will be subject to the Spanish succession law, despite their nationality, unless they specifically state in their will the wish for the succession law of their country of origin to apply”.

When it states “habitually residing” it means you have been living full time in Spain for at least the previous 2 years.

What to do

It seems at this point you have the choice make a new Spanish will that clearly lays out whether you want your original country law or the Spanish Succession law to apply and how exactly should the inheritance be divided.

Alternatively if you are from the UK you can update your will opt out from any EU country inheritance laws and have the UK inheritance laws apply to your foreign assets.

Whatever your situation here in Spain either living full time or a regular visitor, if you own property or other assets here it is worth taking time out to get some legal advice and updating any wills necessary.

This ensures peace of mind that if the worse should happen everything will be taken care of as you want.

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