Originally Posted by morlandg
Does anyone know if the Forced Heirship rules apply to we expats in Spain?
The forced heirship rules state that: a) a person with 1 child can only dispose of half of his/her assets by wills or donations; b) if 2 children, of only ¾ of the estate; and, c) if 3 or more children, of only ¼ of the estate.
I have had conflicting advice -
1.these rules DO apply and
2.others say that they only apply to spanish citizens - British inheritance laws and wills apply to british citizens.
A definitive answer to this vexed question would certainly be welcomed by me but maybe to a lot of other expats also!
My understanding is simply that you can't disinherit the kids - however, I have also heard that the legal "minimum" to meet that rule is small. Obviously these amounts need to be quantified by either talking with a lawyer or a notaria, the latter being a place where wills are officially written and thus, can guide you in the cans and can'ts but obviously perhaps not as well as a lawyer in the shoulds (appeals process, likely to succeed in an appeal etc).
The basics though, with no conflict are fairly straight forward... in my mind.
If both partners are alive, then there are no inheritence issues. They can sell up and give the cash away, spend it, whatever. There is no "Kids inheritence" until they inherit.... hope this makes sense.
If one partner has died, then their assets are split. If there is one child, then half of their half belongs to that child under inheritence.... it doesn't all go to the surviving partner as with the UK. Third if two children etc. i.e. an even split between partner and children.
The only way the surviving partner can sell the house and do whatever they want with the total estate, is if the kids do a power of attorney stating that they leave the remaining partner to do as they wish with the estate. Their inheritence will then come in whole from that partner. It wouldn't be the first time a remaining partner is forced to sell their home to give the kids (who they don't get on with) their rightful half.
Wills are of major importance in Spain because of such things. Whilst a partner can't leave everything to another and disinherit the kids, they can leave "surfruto" of the house for life - meaning that half the house might be the kids' but the remaining partner has the enjoyment of all the house whilst they live. The kids then have to wait.
You really need to get to a Notaria or Lawyer for a quick fact finding mission and then, based on options available, do a will to cover the Spain assets.