Important news about the international succession:
The situation of the inheritance of a foreigner in Spain is going to change substantially from august 2015, with the new European Regulation 650/2012. That new set of rules will make it easier to solve succession matters that may arise from the inheritance procedures of those foreigners living in Spain.
If an English citizen dies, and he has children and assets both in England and in Spain, which law we should apply? …Will be the Spanish law? Will be the English law?
Before August, if a foreigner died while being a resident in Spain, according to the Spanish civil law, the law of his nationality should be considered. So, if an English man dies in Alicante, the law that should be applied is the English law. This is important because according to English law, citizens have the right to leave their assets to whoever they want, and they are not bound to destine some of those assets to certain people.
On the other hand, according to the Spanish civil law, you must leave a percentage of your assets to certain people (spouse, children…).
Now, with the European Regulation 650/2012 about international inheritance procedures, if a foreigner dies in Spain with a residence in this country, the Spanish law will be applied automatically. But also, a foreigner before his passing can choose officially that he wants the law of his country applied instead the Spanish one.
So, in order to prevent unwelcome surprises for the heirs, and your assets distributed according to your decisions and not according to the changes in international regulations and institutions, the best thing to do is to make a new will or specifically note in your existing one that you want the law of your nationality applied instead of the Spanish one. In order to do that, we recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced lawyer so he can study your particular case and advise you about the best course of action.
In HV Lawyers we will be happy to inform you and to help you through the whole process of either change your existing will or making a new one.