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Spanish inheritance Spanish Probate Spain

Spanish Inheritance and Probate Process

If you are a solicitor or executor dealing with the estate of someone who died owning assets in Spain or if you are a beneficiary inheriting property or other assets in Spain you will need to be aware of the Spanish inheritance and probate process.


What is the Spanish Inheritance Procedure?

The main steps to be undertaken when dealing with the Spanish probate process are as follows:


Instructing a Spanish Lawyer

The Spanish inheritance and succession process can be quite complicated to deal with, especially if you do not live in Spain or do not speak Spanish fluently.

It is therefore strongly recommended that anyone dealing with the inheritance of an estate in Spain instructs an English-speaking Spanish lawyer who has experience of dealing with estate administrations in Spain for non-Spanish clients.

It is important to ensure that the Spanish inheritance process is dealt with as soon as possible to avoid additional costs and penalties being incurred in relation to the Spanish estate.  It is therefore strongly advised that you do not delay seeking advice if you are dealing with an estate which has Spanish assets.

If you would like details of a recommended Spanish lawyer to assist you with a Spanish inheritance matter, please contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at


Providing a Power of Attorney

The Spanish inheritance process itself involves a significant number of personal attendances at various offices in Spain.

If the beneficiaries/ executors of a Spanish estate do not live in Spain, it is common for them to provide their Spanish lawyer with a Power of Attorney so that the lawyer may act on their behalf.

Providing your Spanish lawyer with a Power of Attorney will mean that the entire Spanish legal process can usually be dealt with by the Spanish lawyer without the need for the executors/ beneficiaries to go to Spain.


Certification and Translation of the Death Certificate

Any non-Spanish legal documents such as a Death Certificate may need to ‘legalised’ by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in order for it to be legally recognised/ admissible in Spain.

In some cases, the death certificate must also be translated and certified by an official translator.

The legalised and (if required) translated death certificate will need to be presented to the Central Wills registry in Madrid.


Undertake a Spanish Will Search.

Spain has a Central Wills Registry which registers whether or not a person has a Spanish Will.   A search must therefore be carried out at the Spanish Central Wills Registry in Madrid to confirm the existence or absence of a Spanish Will.


Obtain an NIE number:

Each executor/ beneficiary is required to have a Spanish tax number before being able to deal with/ inherit from an Spanish estate. This Spanish tax/ fiscal number is known as an NIE Number.

Spanish lawyers with experience of acting for clients in the UK or other countries will be able to assist in obtaining the required NIE numbers on behalf of the executors/ beneficiaries for the purpose of dealing with the Spanish inheritance.


Gather Together Documentation Relating to Estate

You will need to gather together as much information about the Spanish estate and the Spanish assets as possible. In particular it will be helpful to locate the following:

  • Title deeds for any Spanish properties (‘escrituras’)
  • Spanish registered vehicle documentation for cars or other vehicles owned by the deceased
  • Details of any Spanish bank accounts
  • Details of any shares/ other investments in Spain
  • Details of any Spanish loans, mortgages or other debts in Spain
  • Spanish fiscal number certificates (N.I.E Number) for the deceased

Your lawyer should be able to assist you if you do not have all of this information.

If the deceased did not have a Spanish Will but had a will prepared in another country, then an official sealed copy of a Grant of Probate (or equivalent) obtained in that country may be required.  Proof of the beneficiaries’ legal status and relationship with the deceased may also be required e.g. Birth and Marriage Certificates etc.

An advantage of the existence of a valid separate Spanish Will (if there is one), is that it generally reduces the complexity of the Spanish probate process and the extent of the documentation which has to be produced to the Spanish authorities.

Sometimes a Certificate of English Law / Affidavit of Foreign Law confirming the legal entitlement of the beneficiaries (or to provide any other legal clarification) may be required where the estate involves cross-border legal issues.

If your Spanish lawyer is used to dealing with British and other international clients, they may have the expertise to be able to provide this themselves or will be able to assist in obtaining this for you.

If you require an affidavit of foreign law / Certificate of Law or details of a suitable Spanish lawyer, Worldwide Lawyers can assist. Contact us on 01244 470 339 or at


Sign the Spanish Inheritance Deed

The relevant documents relating to the Spanish estate will need to be presented to a Spanish Notary together with a deed confirming the beneficiaries’ acceptance of 
the Spanish inheritance.

This official Spanish Inheritance Deed must be signed by or on behalf of the beneficiaries in the presence of the notary in Spain.


Pay Spanish Inheritance and Property Taxes

Once the Spanish Inheritance Deed has been signed, the taxes relating to the inheritance of the Spanish assets must then be paid.

You should have obtained a detailed estimate of all applicable costs and taxes from the Spanish lawyer at the outset of the case to enable to executors/beneficiaries to arrange for provision of funds so that the tax payment can be made immediately following the signature of the official Inheritance Deed.

In addition to Spanish Inheritance tax (Succession Tax), ‘Plus Valia’ Tax may also be payable to the local Spanish town hall if there is a Spanish property in the estate.

For beneficiaries who are non-resident in Spain, tax payments require a personal attendance at the central tax office in Madrid. A Spanish lawyer can deal with this on behalf of the beneficiaries under the Power of Attorney.

For residents of Spain, attendance is required at the tax office of the region of Spain where the deceased and beneficiaries reside.

Payment of Spanish inheritance tax must be made within 6 months of the date of death. Late payments will accrue interest and payment penalties.


Transferring Spanish Property to the Beneficiaries.

Following the signature of the Inheritance Deed and payment of any Spanish Succession Tax, applications can be made to the relevant Property Registry in order for the Spanish estate assets to be registered in beneficiaries’ names.

The Property Registration process may involve additional queries in addition to to those required by the Spanish Notary.


Releasing funds from Spanish bank accounts.

The deceased’s Spanish bank accounts can only be dealt with once the Spanish Inheritance Deed has been signed and Spanish Succession Tax has been paid. Succession of bank accounts in Spain is usually dealt with by the bank’s central legal department. Dealing with Spanish banks in Spanish probate cases can often be very difficult so it is advisable to have a Spanish lawyer to liaise with the bank on behalf of the executor/ beneficiaries.


Distributing Spanish Assets

Once the above steps have been completed, the assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries may be required to open a Spanish bank account in order to receive the funds.

For most beneficiaries who do not live in Spain, these funds will then be transferred to their own bank account in their home country.

How To Avoid Losing Money When Distributing Spanish Assets: There can be a significant reduction to the amount of the Spanish inheritance funds actually received by the beneficiaries when these funds are transferred from Spain to the home bank account of the beneficiaries.

In order to minimise this loss and protect as much of the inheritance funds as possible, Executors and beneficiaries are strongly advised to speak with a currency specialist company before arranging the transfer of the funds. The services of a good currency specialist are free and could save you up to 5% of the transferred amount which could be several hundreds if not thousands of euros. For more information about this see: Protecting Overseas Inheritance When Transferring Money Abroad or contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at

If you are dealing with the administration of an estate in Spain, Worldwide Lawyers can help. Contact us on 01244 470 339 or at for further information about the inheritance process in Spain. We can put you in touch with an English-speaking Spanish lawyer specialising in dealing with estates where there is property or other assets in Spain and arrange for a no-obligation quote.


Best Currency Exchange company

Purchasing Property Abroad? Save Thousands By Considering Your Currency Exchange

If you are buying a property abroad, the purchase price will usually be payable in a foreign currency, meaning that the money you will be using to fund the purchase will need to be converted into that currency when being transferred overseas. By treating this overseas payments in the same way as other single currency payments however you may be costing yourself hundreds if not thousands of pounds.


Make sure you don’t lose money on your currency exchange

The rate of the currency exchange can have a massive impact on foreign payments however it is often a forgotten aspect amidst all of the excitement of buying a property abroad.

When making payments overseas, such as the deposit for the property purchase or the balance of the purchase price due on completion, many people often just blindly entrust the transfer to their bank allowing them to convert their payment into the required currency without considering the exchange rate offered by the bank and the impact this could have on the overall costs of the property.

Making foreign transfers with poor exchange rates are one of the ways in which high street banks make enormous profits at the expense of their customers. The exchange rates offered by high street banks tend to be highly uncompetitive and may also be accompanied by huge commission charges just to transfer the money.

When you are transferring the amounts of money required to purchase a property, just a small difference in exchange rate can end up costing you significantly more than necessary, often thousands of pounds.


The best way to send money abroad/ receive money from abroad

It is highly advisable to make the transfer through a recommended currency specialist rather than making the transfer through the banks.

One of the reasons for this is that the exchange rates offered by foreign currency brokers are much more competitive than the rates of exchange offered by the banks, often by a considerable amount.

The services of a currency specialist is free and a can also save you further money when compared with the banks as, not only do they offer superior exchange rates, they don’t charge the excessive fees that the banks do just to transfer funds.

The reason that currency specialist companies are able do this is due to the volume of foreign transfers they make and the fact their sole aim as a business is to offer ‘bank beating’ exchange rates. Currency specialists can typically save around 3-5% of the transfer value when compared to the banks.

Foreign currency specialists can help in a number of additional ways too. For example they can arrange to set sterling budgets and rates for your transfer so you will know exactly how much will be transferred at a given time without leaving matters to the mercy of the fluctuations at the time of the transfer.

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Currency Specialists Vs High Street Banks


You are buying a property in Spain for €200,000 but your funds are in GBP. So you will need to convert your GBP to pay the €200,000.

  High Street Bank Rate Currency Specialist Rate
Amount to be paid in € €200,000 @ €1.14/£1 €200,000 @ €1.17/£1
Total Cost in £ £175,438.60 £170,940.17

By using a bank instead of a currency specialist, your would have paid £4498.42* more for the property.

*Exchange rates are subject to change.

As shown by the example above, a small amount of research and planning can make a vast difference to the amounts actually paid for your overseas property.

Using a recommended foreign exchange specialist is not only cost effective but also very time efficient. You can set up an account and send a payment within minutes. It is simply a case of transferring funds to a this separate account where the money can be exchanged and the relevant currency forwarded on to the desired account.

It is however recommended to contact a currency specialist as soon as you know you will need to make or receive an overseas payment as a good currency specialist will also be able to advise you regarding the timing of the transfer to help you get the most from your money. A good currency specialist will also be happy just to give you some information about how they can help.

You should ensure you use a recommended currency specialist who is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

For details of a recommended and regulated currency specialist and to discuss how they can assist you, please get in touch with Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 or email us at


Retired couple with household bills

Cancelling Timeshares In Portugal

Many people who have an unwanted timeshare in Portugal wish to cancel their timeshare but find it hard to know who to trust.

The timeshare industry has attracted a very bad reputation over the years, and with good reason! High pressure sales tactics, unscrupulous salespeople and out and out lies have left many people feeling completely duped by the whole timeshare experience.

Not only that, but many people who already own timeshares in Portugal are regularly contacted by “Timeshare Specialist” companies offering to help to “sell” or “cancel” their timeshare. Often these companies are just scam companies set up to extract more money and without actually delivering what they promise, leaving timeshare owners in the same position – just further out of pocket!


This articles discusses cancelling your timeshare in Portugal. For information about cancelling your timeshare in Spain see our article about timeshares in Spain here: How To Cancel Your Spanish Timeshare Contract And Claim Your Money Back!


Many people who have a timeshare in Portugal wish to cancel their timeshare for various reasons, including:

  • They are not receiving the benefits expected from the timeshare;
  • The are not using the timeshare;
  • The maintenance fees have escalated;
  • They do not want the burden of the timeshare to pass to their children.

If you want to cancel your Portuguese timeshare contract, you should ensure that you instruct a well established and reputable law firm who have the expertise to assist you with this. But how can you spot a good company from a bad one? Well, this is easier said than done and you are right to be cautious.

There are many companies and “associations” online which appear to be legitimate but are actually scams targeted at timeshare owners who are desperate to get out of their timeshare contracts.

As a good rule of thumb, be cautious of the following:

  • Anyone who cold calls you or contacts you without you having contacted them first. This begs the immediate question of how they got your details in the first place. Despite what they tell, it is likely that they have bought or stolen your details from a timeshare company in order to elicit money from you.
  • Forums providing “advice” about cancelling your timeshare. At best these are often frequented by well meaning, but completely unqualified people passing on snippets of information which have varying degrees of accuracy. In some cases the “advise” can actually make your situation worse or jeopardise your position. At worst these are used by companies trying to obtain contact details from people with timeshares who are vulnerable to timeshare related cons.
  • Firms set up solely to deal with timeshare claims. Although there may be some genuine companies, it may be better to speak with a law firm which deals with a range of legal matters but has experience and expertise with timeshare claims in Portugal rather than a company of timeshare ‘specialists’ specifically targeting people with timeshares in Portugal.
How can I cancel my timeshare contract in Portugal?

There are various pieces of legislation, contract law and consumer laws which provide for the cancellation of timeshares in Portugal. You do however need to make sure that you instruct a reputable lawyer with expertise in dealing with timeshare matters in Portugal to ensure that you get accurate information about what is and isn’t possible in your specific situation.

Having an unwanted timeshare can become a very stressful experience for many people. However there is usually a way to solve the problem and relieve yourself of this burden if you seek proper advice.

If you have an unwanted timeshare in Portugal and would like to seek advise from a lawyer with experience and expertise in dealing with cancelling timeshares in Portugal and making timeshare related claims in Portugal, Worldwide Lawyers can help.

Contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at We will be happy to put you in touch with a lawyer with experience with cancelling timeshares in Portugal to assist you in relation to your timeshare claim in Portugal. 

The lawyer will be able to provide you with a free, no-obligation assessment of your Portuguese timeshare claim to help you find a solution to your Portuguese timeshare headache.

The assessment will advise you as to whether you are able to cancel your Portuguese timeshare and the procedures to be followed to cancel or make a claim in relation to your timeshare in Portugal.

If you do decide to take further action, our recommended timeshare claims specialists will provide you with a no-obligation fixed fee quote for all costs to assist you with this.

If you have a timeshare in Portugal and would like to know what your options are in relation to cancelling the timeshare contract, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers,

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Buying property in Lanzarote, Spain, lawyers

Quick Guide to Buying Property in Lanzarote

Lanzarote, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, has long been a popular holiday destination and with its year-round warm weather and stunning scenery, it is easy to see why people fall in love with the island.

If you are thinking of buying a property in Lanzarote, we have provided a quick guide to buying property in Lanzarote below to help make the process as stress-free as possible.

The Cost of Buying a Property in Lanzarote

Before purchasing a property in Lanzarote, it is important to know what is involved and in particular the associated costs involved with the purchase:

Mortgages in Lanzarote:

If a mortgage is required to buy your property in Lanzarote, ensure that you know how much you are able to borrow and the realistic options that are available to you (Contact Worldwide Lawyers for more information about mortgages in Lanzarote). 

Taxes and Fees:

On top of the asking price of the property in Lanzarote, you will be required to pay taxes and legal fees for the purchase.

The general rule of thumb is that for property purchases in Lanzarote you should allow an additional 10% of the property purchase price to cover the legal fees and purchase taxes etc. (this may be slightly more for lower value properties).

Ongoing Obligations:

You should also make sure that you know what your on-going obligations would be in relation to the property in Lanzarote after purchase. For example, if you intend to rent out the property to tourists, you need to check that this is allowed and check if a license is required in order to do so. You should also find out what the on-going tax and community fees for the property will be.

Currency Exchange:

Remember currency fluctuates and therefore the price you would pay for a property in Lanzarote on the day your offer is accepted, may not be the same on the day of completion. The slightest change in the exchange rate, may end up costing you thousands of pounds extra. By talking to a currency specialist as early as possible, you can explore the ways they can minimise the implications of currency fluctuations and save you serious money on the exchange (often thousands of pounds). Get in touch with a recommended currency specialist before you buy to see just how much you could save (Contact Worldwide Lawyers for more information about how to save money on your currency exchange or for details of a recommended currency specialist).


Find an independent English-Speaking Lawyer in Lanzarote

It is extremely important that you instruct a Lawyer when purchasing a property in Lanzarote.

You should ensure that you instruct a lawyer in Lanzarote that is English-speaking (unless you speak fluent Spanish) and has experience of assisting UK clients in relation to property purchases. It is strongly advised that you do not use a lawyer that is recommended by the seller, estate agent or developer.

By instructing your own independent lawyer that is no way connected to the seller, you can ensure that there are no conflicts of interest and that the lawyer is acting in your best interests only.

You can provide your lawyer in Lanzarote with a Power of Attorney so that they can deal with matters on your behalf when you are not in Lanzarote. This can save you having to travel to Lanzarote every time a signature is required (See our article Giving Power of Attorney to Your Lawyer for more information).

It is never too early to get organised and contact a recommended lawyer in Lanzarote. Getting in touch with a property solicitor in Lanzarote early means that you will be able to budget for their legal fees and you will also have your lawyer in Lanzarote on hand to assist you should you need to move quickly with regard to the property purchase.

 Worldwide Lawyers can assist you in finding an independent English-speaking lawyer for your property purchase anywhere on the island of Lanzarote including Puerto del Carmen, Playa Blanca, Costa Teguise, Puerto Calero, Playa de los Pocillos, Arrecife and everywhere else!

Download your free legal buying guide to Spain here or contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or  email us at for more information or for details of a recommended lawyer in Lanzarote.

Get an NIE Number

An NIE number will be required by all non-Spanish purchasers of property in Lanzarote. An NIE is essentially a  foreigner’s identity number. Your lawyer will be able to assist you with getting an NIE number in Lanzarote. For more information see our blog Getting a Spanish NIE Number.

The Property Buying Process in Lanzarote

Once you have found your perfect property in Lanzarote, your lawyer will undertake the relevant checks on the property. This will include carrying out checks at the local land registry, town hall and tax office to make sure that the property is free from problems. They will also make sure that the seller owns and has good title to the property and will check to ensure that there are no restrictions to using the property as you intend.

It is important to obtain advice from a lawyer in Lanzarote before handing over any deposit or signing any contract, as deposits are usually non-refundable, should you pull out of the property purchase.

Completion of the property purchase in Lanzarote

After your English-speaking lawyer in Lanzarote has completed all the final checks on the property, they will prepare the final Purchase Deed and arrange between the parties a date for this to be signed at the Notary’s office in Lanzarote.

To finalise the purchase, the Escritura de Compra Venta (Deeds) are signed in front of the Notary in Lanzarote. The balance of the property price is paid, together with the transfer taxes and you can then be registered as the new owners of your property in Lanzarote.

Your lawyer may also assist you with setting up your utilities in Lanzarote, including council taxes and bank arrangements for water, electricity etc.

You can then enjoy your property in Lanzarote with piece of mind!

If you would like further information about any aspects of buying a property in Lanzarote, contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at and one of our friendly representatives would be happy to help.

Worldwide Lawyers can also put you in touch with a recommended English-speaking lawyer in Lanzarote and other specialists who can assist you with making your property purchase in Lanzarote as hassle free and cost effective as possible. 
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Ein Fächer mit Banknoten verschiedener Länder

Why Probate Lawyers Should Consider Currency Exchange When Repatriating Foreign Assets

It is becoming increasingly common for lawyers dealing with the administration of estates to find that an estate contains foreign assets such as a property abroad, a foreign bank account or shareholdings in an overseas company.

The best way to repatriate the value of these assets is however often not properly considered by probate lawyers, often inadvertently and unnecessarily costing the estate several thousands of pounds.

Dealing with an estate with foreign assets? Contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 or email We can assist with the repatriation of the foreign assets and can make sure that you get the best exchange rate for your client, helping you to save your client thousands. 

If there are foreign assets to be collected into the estate such as the balance of a foreign bank account or the proceeds of a sale of a foreign property or shares, the funds will usually be in a foreign currency. The foreign currency will therefore need to be converted before in can be received into your firm’s client account or into the executor’s or beneficiaries accounts.

To ensure that you are acting in your client’s best interests and to ensure as much of the estate as possible is preserved for the beneficiaries, proper consideration should be given to the best way to receive the funds. The rate of the currency exchange can have a massive impact on the overall amount received however it is often overlooked by lawyers when dealing with the estate administration.

When repatriating foreign assets, many lawyers often just blindly entrust the transfer to the bank allowing them to convert the estate funds into the home currency without considering the rate offered by the bank and the impact this could have on the overall amount received by the estate.

Exchange rates are however one of the ways in which High Street banks make enormous profits at the expense of their customers, including law firms.

Bank exchange rates tend to be very uncompetitive and may also be accompanied by commission charges just to transfer the money from overseas. This rarely achieves the best result for your client and can often end up unnecessarily reducing the amount actually received by the estate by a significant amount. 

What is the best way to repatriate foreign estate assets?

The most cost effective way of receiving money from overseas is to use a recommended currency exchange specialist to assist you with transferring the money and exchanging the currency rather than receiving or transferring the funds directly into a high street bank account.

The reason for this is because currency exchange specialists typically offer currency exchange rates that are 3-5% better than high street banks meaning 3-5% more of the estate funds will be preserved. For example, if you were transferring the equivalent of £100,000 you could costs your client up to £5000 by transferring the funds directly into your client account and allowing the bank to convert the currency.

In addition to this, high street banks often charge fees and commissions just to move the money from overseas. The service of a good, recommended foreign exchange specialist however is free.

Worldwide Lawyers can recommend a Currency Exchange Specialist who is used to assisting lawyers and their clients with the repatriation of inheritance funds. All Currency Specialists recommended by Worldwide Lawyers are registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as fully regulated by HMRC.

The reason that currency specialist companies are able do this is due to the volume of foreign currency transfers they make and the fact their sole aim as a business is to offer superior exchange rates compared to the banks.

Currency specialists can also advise you about the timing of the currency transfer to help you ensure that you help your clients receive the most from their funds.

Currency Specialists Vs High Street Banks


You are dealing with an estate where there is a bank account in Germany with a balance of €200,000. You are based in the UK and need to receive the funds into your UK client account. You will therefore need to convert your €200,000 into Pounds Sterling.

  High Street Bank Rate Currency Specialist Rate
€200,000 @ £1.10 €200,000 @ £1.14
Amount received in £ £220,000 £228,000

By using a currency specialist instead of a bank your client would have received £8000.00 more. 

As set out in the example above, a small amount of research and planning can make a vast difference to the amounts actually received and can add a considerable amount of value for your client. By helping them receive the assets in the most cost effective way, you can often save them more than your fees have actually cost them adding real additional value for your clients!!

It is recommended that anyone repatriating foreign assets (or indeed arranging to transfer money to beneficiaries located abroad), contacts a currency specialist rather than risk leaving the transfer to the banks. A good currency specialist will be happy to give you some no-obligation information about the best way to deal with the currency exchange and how they can help you save your clients money.

Currency Exchange and the Regulatory Obligations of Lawyers

In relation to currency exchange services the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority in England and Wales have provided the following guidance:

If the solicitor is aware that funds will need to be received or sent abroad he may wish to discuss with his client at the outset how this will be achieved.

If he is aware of such a service which would result in a considerable financial benefit to the client then, as he has an obligation to act in the client’s best interests (SRA Principle 4) and an obligation to disclose all relevant material information to his client (Outcome O(4.2) of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011) he should discuss the possibilities and any risks with his client and take the client’s instructions.

However if he has discussed the issues and risks with his client, the client is then in a position to consider the risks and benefits and to give instructions as to how they wish the funds to be transferred.”

For details of a recommended currency exchange specialist and to discuss how they can assist you and your clients, please get in touch with Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470339 or email us at 

All Currency Exchange Specialists recommended by Worldwide Lawyers are registered and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as fully regulated by HMRC.

Worldwide Lawyers can also assist should you require details of a recommended foreign lawyer to assist you in dealing with legal aspects of repatriating foreign assets, such as dealing with the foreign probate process, resealing Grants of Probate or dealing with sale or title to property abroad. 

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