Steps that you should take to receive an inheritance in Spain

What steps should you take to receive inheritance in Spain?

Many of our clients want to know how to receive their inheritance in Spain. Receiving inheritance in Spain can be a long and complicated process. However our Spanish lawyers wrote this article to inform you on the steps you need to take.

Steps to receive inheritance

When a person passes away, their assets and rights go to the corresponding heirs. However, there are certificates and information you will need to receive, based on whether the deceased did or did not leave a will.

There are two types of succession.

A testate succession occurs when the deceased has left a will and reports their assets and rights, partially or completely, and which legatees will receive them.

On the other hand, intesate succession refers to when the deceased has not left a will, or has declared to nullify the will. Relatives closest to them will be named heir, with inheritance amount and recipients depending on Spanish inheritance laws.

Documents you need to receive inheritance

First, you´ll need the Death Certificate (¨Certificado de Defunción¨), which can be accessed as soon as 48 hours and 21 days from death, depending on the Registry.

Secondly, you need to obtain the Certificate of Last Wills (¨Certificado de últimas voluntades¨). If you, as heir, would like to access the last will and testament of the deceased, you must contact the Last Wills’ Registry and ask for a “certificado de últimas voluntades”. You can access the certificate by visiting the office of the Ministry of Justice or through the Ministry of Justice´s webpage. The certificate cannot be accessed until 15 business days after the death, not including the day of death.

Next, you will need the Certificate of Insurance Coverage with Death Certificado de seguros con coberturas de fallecimiento¨). This certificate will clarify whether the deceased had a type of life insurance, and whether the insurance was with a company or other entity. Similarly to the other certificates, you can enter the insurance information and submit it via the Ministry of Justice´s website.

Then, you must go to the notary in which the will was made and access the copy of the will.

However, you only need to go to the notary for some matters, depending on the goods and the number of heirs.

In the case of intestate succession, a death certificate is necessary, in addition to a family book and/or birth certificates, which is a Spanish document that records marriages and children. These documents can be accessed at the Civil Registry. As is the case with a testate succession, you still need the Certificate of Last Wills.

And if the Certificate of Last Wills indicates that the deceased did not leave a will?

If the certificate indicates this, you must go to the notary and solicit a Declaration of Inheritors (¨Declaración de herederos¨) if you are direct kin of the deceased.

If you are not direct kin, you need to go to a court and ask to verify kinship. To sign the Declaration of Inheritors, you need to bring to the notary two witnesses that are not relatives of the deceased.

Within 20 days, or when an authentic will is found, the declaration of heirs will be either accepted or waived.


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.

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