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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 info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk.


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 info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk.


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 info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk

If you are dealing with the administration of an estate in Spain, Worldwide Lawyers can help. Contact us on 01244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk 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.


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 info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. 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 info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. 

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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resealing grant of probate

Resealing Grants of Probate

Have you been asked to provide a reseal of a Grant of Probate in another country? If so, Worldwide Lawyers can help.

If you are dealing with the estate administration of a person who died owning assets such as property, land, bank accounts, shares or other investments abroad, we can assist you with obtaining a re-sealed Grant of Probate to release these assets.

Contact Worldwide Lawyers on 0044 1244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk for a FREE no–obligation discussion about how to obtain a resealed grant of probate. We will also be happy to put you in touch with a recommended English-speaking lawyer in the relevant country who will provide a no-obligation quote, if required.

Worldwide Lawyers is a UK based company with a network of recommended English-speaking lawyers around the world who can assist you in dealing with a deceased estate where there are assets overseas.

Dealing with the administration of assets abroad requires a different process depending on the country in which the assets are located.

In some countries the process of ‘Resealing a Grant of Probate’ is required. Worldwide Lawyers regularly assists legal professionals, executors and beneficiaries across the world with resealing Grants of Probate in the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Cyprus
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland)

We can also assist in obtaining Grants of Probate in the British Isles of  Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

In other countries where the process of ‘resealing’ is not available, another estate administration/ probate process will be required. Worldwide lawyers regularly assist where there are estate assets in other countries too. Feel free to contact us to find out how and where we can help.

Contact Worldwide Lawyers’ free service on 0044 1244 470 339 (or 01244 470 339 if calling from within the UK) or email us at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk. You can also get in touch using our Contact Form on the top right hand side of this webpage.

Our helpful representatives will be happy to provide you with any initial guidance you may need and, if required, put you in touch with an English-speaking specialist lawyer in the relevant country.

The lawyer will be able to advise you of the resealing (or other) process and provide you with a no-obligation quote to obtain the reseal and arrange for the assets to be sold or transferred to the executors or beneficiaries of the estate if required.

*Note: References to ‘Grant of Probate’ include all Grants of Representation including Grants of Letters of Administration and equivalent documents (terminology may vary from country to country). If you are unsure, please feel free to contact us for guidance on 0044 1244 470 339 (or 01244 470 339 if calling from within the UK).  


For further information see our articles:

Resealing Grants of Probate in the UK,

Resealing Grants of Probate in Australia,

Resealing Grants of Probate in New Zealand,

Resealing Grants of Probate in South Africa,

International Probate: How to deal with estates with assets in more than one country.


Inheritance (WWL)(landscape)

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Grant of Probate Reseal

Resealing a Grant of Probate in Malaysia

If you are dealing with the estate of someone who died owning assets in Malaysia you will need to arrange for the assets in Malaysia to be released and then sold or transferred to the beneficiaries.

When you contact the bank, share registrar of other organisation that the assets are currently held with, you will probably be asked to provide a “Malaysian Grant of Probate” or a “Re-seal of the Grant of Probate in Malaysia” before they will release the assets to the executor or beneficiaries.

Your local solicitor in the UK (or wherever your home country may be) will not usually be able to assist with this, unless they are qualified as a Malaysian lawyer.

So how do you get a Malaysian Grant of Probate? How do you reseal a Grant of Probate in Malaysia? What is a resealed grant of probate? How do you find a good Malaysian lawyer?

If you a solicitor, executor or administrator dealing with an estate of someone who owned assets in Malaysia, whether it is land/property in Malaysia, cash in a Malaysian bank account or shares in an Malaysian company, Worldwide Lawyers can assist.

Contact Worldwide Lawyers for a FREE no–obligation discussion about how to deal with the Malaysian assets. If required we can also put you in touch with a Malaysian lawyer who can assist with obtaining a Grant of Probate in Malaysia or Resealing a Grant of Probate in Malaysia for you. Contact us on 01244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk.

In the meantime, we have provided some answers below to some Frequently Asked Questions to help guide you towards successfully finalising the estate administration in Malaysia.

I am dealing with the estate of someone who died with assets in Malaysia. What do I need to do?

If a person from outside of Malaysia dies owning assets located in Malaysia, the executor of the deceased person’s will, or the person entitled to sort out their estate, is required to deal with these assets so that they can either be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries.

In order to do this, the person dealing with the estate will usually need to either:

    • apply for a Malaysia Grant of Probate; or
    • arrange to have a Grant of Probate, which has been obtained in the country where the deceased person lived, “resealed” in Malaysia.

If a Grant of Probate has been obtained in the UK (or another commonwealth country such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore) it is generally easier and cheaper to get this Grant of Probate resealed in Malaysia rather than applying for a new Malaysian Grant of Probate.

Should I instruct a Malaysian lawyer to obtain a Re-sealed Grant of Probate?

The process of resealing a UK Grant of Probate in Malaysia is easier than applying for a brand new Grant of Probate in Malaysia.

That said, obtaining a reseal of a Grant of Probate in Malaysia requires an understanding of the Malaysian legal system and an application to the relevant court in Malaysia will need to be obtained.

For most people dealing with an estate where there are assets in Malaysia it will be necessary to instruct a lawyer in Malaysia to reseal the Grant of Probate.

A Malaysia lawyer with experience of resealing Grants of Probate will be able to efficiently obtain the resealed Grant of Probate to enable you to release the Malaysian assets in the estate. They may also be able to arrange for the Malaysian assets to be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries in accordance with their wishes.

I have a Grant of Letters of Administration not a Grant of Probate. Will this be recognised in Malaysia and can it be re-sealed in Malaysia?

If the deceased did not have a will, the person entitled to deal with the estate will obtain a document called a Grant of Letters of Administration instead of a Grant of Probate.

Both a Grant of Probate and a Grant of Letters of Administration can be resealed in Malaysia.


If you are dealing with an estate where there are assets located in Malaysia contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk.

We can provide you with some FREE initial guidance and also put you in touch with an experienced Malaysian lawyer who can assist in obtaining the resealed Grant of Probate in Malaysia. The Malaysian lawyer can also liaise with bank, company or other organisation in Malaysia to arrange for the Malaysian assets to be sold or transferred to the beneficiaries of the estate.

We can also assist with resealing grants of probate in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Honk Kong, Singapore, United Kingdom and many more countries! Contact us for more information.

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inheriting property in italy

Inheritance Of Property and Other Assets In Italy

If you are trying to sort out the inheritance of property or money located in Italy, this can be a daunting task, especially if you do not speak Italian.

The Italian assets may be due to be inherited in accordance with a Will or the Italian intestacy rules , but either way you will need to understand what the inheritance procedure in Italy is and who will inherit the Italian assets.

So what is the Italian inheritance and probate procedure? What do you need to do if you are dealing with an estate of some who died with assets in Italy? and is it really necessary to instruct an Italian lawyer to deal with inheritance of an Italian estate?

Here’s a little bit of guidance….

I am dealing with an estate administration where there are assets in Italy, what should I do?

If you are a beneficiary, executor or solicitor dealing with an estate in Italy, you will need to undertake the probate procedure in Italy in order to arrange for the deceased’s property, shares, money or other belongings to be passed to the beneficiaries.

This requires the beneficiaries of the Italian estate to obtain a document called Dichiarazione di Successione (Italian Certificate of Inheritance) which is the Italian equivalent of a Grant of Probate document and this confirms the entitlement of the beneficiaries.

Where a person dies owning assets in two or more countries, it is usually necessary for probate or the equivalent document to be obtained in both or all countries where assets are located.

What is the Probate procedure in Italy?

Regardless of whether or not the deceased had an Italian Will, an application for Dichiarazione di Successione (Italian Certificate of Inheritance) is required to be filed by the beneficiaries with the Tax authority in Italy (Agenzia delle Entrate).

The Italian inheritance application requires the following information:

  • Details of the deceased person and the beneficiaries of the Italian estate
  • Details of the inherited assets.
  • Details of the payment of taxes by the beneficiaries.
  • The deceased’s death certificate, which should be translated into Italian if the deceased died outside of Italy
  • The original or legalised copy of the Will if there is one, (translated into Italian if not already in Italian).

Once this application has been submitted, the Italian tax authorities will request that the beneficiaries pay any taxes due. Usually, taxes will include Italian inheritance tax and, if the inherited asset is a property, property transfer taxes (imposta ipotecaria and imposta catastale).

The amount of Italian inheritance payable by each beneficiary will depend on the value of the assets inherited and the relationship of the beneficiary with the deceased.

Property Transfer Tax does not normally exceed 3% of the value of the Italian estate.

If the debts and liabilities of the deceased exceed the assets, the heirs may refuse the inheritance.

Who can apply for probate in Italy?

It is the beneficiaries who usually apply for the Italian Certificate of Inheritance.

Any of the beneficiaries, or the Executor of the Italian Will (if one has been appointed), can instruct an Italian Lawyer or a Notary to make the application.

The costs of the probate in Italy is usually paid out the estate but deducted pro-rata from the amount of inheritance each beneficiary receives.

Who inherits an Italian estate?

Italy has forced heirship rules which means that a certain proportion of the estate must be inherited by certain relatives (these including the spouse, the children, and, under certain conditions, the parents of the deceased).

The portion of the estate that must be transferred to these protected beneficiaries “forced heirs” varies according to the number and relationship of the heirs to the person who has died.

If the portion that is reserved for these beneficiaries is not respected, they can use a specific legal action called a claw-back action (azione di riduzione) which enables them to claim their reserved portion of the estate.

The rights of these beneficiaries under Italian law remain regardless of the contents of a will unless the laws of another country apply to the succession of the estate for example in accordance with the EU succession regulations that came into force in August 2015.

This area can be quite complex and it is highly advisable for people to seek advice from an experienced lawyer about this. Contact Worldwide Lawyers if you would like details of a recommended lawyer who can assist.

Is there a deadline for applying for the Grant of Probate in Italy?

The application for the Italian inheritance certificate should be made within one year of the death of the deceased. If the application is made after this time, there may be fines for late submission.

Do I need to instruct an Italian lawyer to deal with inheritance of property or other assets in Italy?

Italy has a fairly complex and paper heavy probate procedure. Many different documents are required to be submitted and different rules may apply – especially if some or all of the beneficiaries of the Italian estate are not Italian.

In most cases where a person dies with assets in Italy, the executor, beneficiaries or non-Italian solicitors dealing estate are strongly advised to instruct an English-speaking Italian lawyer who specialises in Italian succession and Italian probate matters, especially if you do not speak Italian fluently.

There may also be taxes to pay, deadlines to meet or parctical issues such as how to deal with the inheritance of a car in Italy. An experienced Italian lawyer will be able to advise you how best to deal with these issues as well as the other aspects of the administration of the estate in Italy.

An English-speaking Italian lawyer will also be able to explain to you the applicable Italian succession laws, advise you as to who is entitled to inherit the Italian assets and also explain the obligations of each person to ensure that the inheritance is dealt with correctly and no complications or issues will arise further down the line.

If you would like further information or a recommendation for an English-speaking Italian inheritance lawyer Contact Worldwide Lawyers on 01244 470 339 or at info@worldwidelawyers.co.uk.

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