A FOREIGNER’S DEATH IN SPAIN
The death of a family member in Spain leaves foreign clients with many questions and concerns. Our Lawyers can help you pay inheritance taxes, claim compensation, and more.
With the death of a tourist, there can be corpse repatriation problems and civil liability issues. A common case seen by our lawyers are accidental deaths, through traffic accidents for example. In these cases, family members are entitled to compensation.
In the case of foreigners who have moved to Spain to establish their permanent residence here, the most frequent problem after a death is his/her inheritance. Especially how to pay the taxes for property inherited in Spain.
Indeed, often foreigners may inherit a home from a parent who decided to spend their last years of retirement in Spain. Moreover, it is important to note the difference between EU and non-EU citizens, especially when dealing with a tax issue.
In addition, a second problem may arise if a beneficiary, from Sweden or Canada for example, may not be interested in maintaining a property in a distant country, as they might not be able to enjoy it.
Another common problem would be if the deceased had multiple wills.
After having accepted the inheritance, the inheritors must research how to make the proprety profitable. For instance, whether to rent or sell the estate. Therefore, a lawyer, who knows the market and the law, can be extremely helpful in deciding which option is best in each specific case.
It may also be that the deceased had pending legal cases or contracts of all kinds (rental, service provision, etc.) that may need to be evaluated and resolved.
Other issues related to death are those regarding pets, and property other than real estate.
In any case, it is convenient to contact a notary who will be able to regulate your assets.
The most frequent incident type is death by traffic accident, but other accidents can also cause death. These accidents can be the fault of a third party, in which case family members (such as ascendants, siblings/next of kin, descendants), have the right to compensation.
There are a multitude of situations which exemplify accidental death. For instance, an accident at a shooting range, a fall on a private estate that did not ensure the minimum security requirements were met, a motor accident, an accident in an amusement park, etc. there are thousands of possibilities.
Sometimes it can be a result of shared responsibility, in which several people can be held responsible (sometimes even the deceased could be either partly or entirely to blame). Each case must be studied carefully, since the costs can be high and depend on numerous particularities (family relationship, cohabitation, number of relatives, economic dependence…).
Court procedures dealing with accidental death are usually long and drawn-out when the culpability is not clear. Furthermore, in many cases these procedures begin by being processed through criminal proceedings. In Spain, the criminal justice system allows individuals to file a claim for civil responsibilities as well. However, if you prefer, you may also pursue civil actions outside the criminal court and thus exercise the actions in the civil and criminal court simultaneously.
In Spain there is an action against both the party responsible for the death or damage and also against the insurance company. There is an insurance company called the Insurance Consortium/”Consorcio de Compensaicón de Seguros” that is responsible for paying compensation in some cases. For example, the Consortium might pay out in instances of death which are caused by exceptional environmental circumstances.
DEATH FROM MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
Spain is a country where doctors and hospitals are held in high regard and there is a lot of “health tourism”, meaning people come to Spain to receive medical treatments. Despite the high level of professionals, we are all human and medical malpractice situations may occur.
The process of receiving compensation is different depending on whether the negligence was committed by a private clinic within the private system or if it occurred due to a problem in the public health system. What both cases have in common is the right to compensation.
There is also the possibility that medical malpractice will not result in death, however instead other injuries or compensable damages.
Generally, to assess medical malpractice damages we use the regulations applicable to traffic accidents.
We also use experts who can assess the damage to obtain the most appropriate compensation for the specific case. In the end, a specialist doctor who, by reviewing the work of another specialist, can give us the specific data on where the medical failures occurred. Consequently, the medical professional can decide if they were avoidable, as well as how much damage they caused.
DEATH BY MURDER OR HOMICIDE: VIOLENT DEATH
Death by homicide is much less common in Spain. Nonetheless, it is possible to claim compensation in case of the death of a relative who has been murdered.
In this way we find a situation that generates not only civil but also criminal responsibilities. Both of these may be exercised in the corresponding criminal court.
The family members’ pain will not be alleviated by receiving an economic compensation. However, in many instances, families are left in economic hardship because of the death of a family member. Thus, when granting compesation, we must not only take into account emotional pain, but the serious economic damage death can cause for to a family. The loss of a family member can also mean the loss of a salary. Given this situation, it is often necessary to claim compensation.
The problem in these cases is usually that the aggressor does not have economic means to pay the compensation.
Our lawyers can also provide help if the deceased held life insurance.
Should you require further information regarding Spanish Law, our firm can provide advice. Please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers. You can contact us by using the contact form below, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephoning +34 93 514 39 97 or Whatsapp +34 675 58 14 62.
Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case, please contact our lawyers directly.