German-Spanish probate law and estate planning

Specialists in Spanish Probate Law and Estate Planning 

We specialize in inheritance law as it relates to Spain. A connection with Spain may arise, for instance, if the testator was a Spanish citizen, if the testator or transferee had a (tax) domicile in Spain or if the estate is located partially or completely in Spain. Our offices are staffed with Spanish and international attorneys that are competent in Spanish. Our attorneys in Spain are part of an integrated team of legal professionals that spans many countries of the world. We consult with a view towards the overall tax and civil law situation. This is particularly important for tax issues; and, in disputed matters or matters with a foreign domicile, knowledge of several legal systems can be essential. Our services include: 

Support for Estate/Probate Proceedings in Spain

We advise and assist clients acting as executors or trustees of common law jurisdiction (including U.S.A., England & Wales, Singapore, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong) with regard to Spanish law.  Our services include:

  • Obtaining recognition of validity from Spanish probate courts for international wills.
  • Assistance to obtain the deed of acceptance of inheritance in Spain.
  • Providing legal representation for foreign heirs, beneficiaries, executors, administrators and trustees of estate in connection with obtaining assets held by Spanish banks, insurance companies and financial institutions
  • Assisting with the preparation and filing of Spanish inheritance and gift tax returns for Spanish and foreign heirs and beneficiaries to ensure recognition of payments of foreign gift and estate taxes in Spain and deduction of such payments from any Spanish inheritance and gift tax liabilities
  • Representing executors, administrators, heirs, beneficiaries and trustees before Spanish probate courts and taxation authorities, including obtaining tax clearance for the release of Spanish assets passing to foreign heirs and beneficiaries and defending against claims of unwarranted Spanish inheritance and gift taxes
  • Consulting regarding the structuring and timing of distributions from foreign trusts by foreign trustees to Spanish resident beneficiaries to minimize any Spanish inheritance and gift tax liabilities

Support for Estate/Probate Proceedings in Common Law Jurisdictions

We also advise clients in foreign estate / probate proceedings on any questions pertaining to Spanish inheritance law.  Our services include providing Affidavits in Foreign Law (Spanish Law) and Legal Opinions on Spanish law in foreign contentious probate proceedings. 

Representation in Contentious probate proceedings in Spain

We represent Spanish and foreign beneficiaries as well as executors and trustees in contentious probate proceedings in Spanish courts, e.g

  • Forced heirship claims under Spanish law
  • Will contest on the grounds of Undue Influence and Lack of Mental Capacity (e.g. dementia or paranoia).
  • Dissolution of community of co-heirs
  • Dismissal/removal of executors
  • Contentious Determination of heirs
  • Injunctions

Representation in Contentious Trust matters

Although no trusts exist under Spanish law in the strictest sense, there are some Spanish legal instruments that are similar to Trusts (e.g. fideicomiso)  and Spanish courts may interpret foreign trusts the equivalent of Spanish legal instruments. We represent Spanish and foreign trust beneficiaries as well as Trustees in Spanish courts, e.g

  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Accounting
  • Removal of Trustee
  • Trust Modification
  • Trust Termination

International Estate Planning

We frequently advise clients from common law jurisdictions in all matters connected with international estate planning, including, but not limited to:

  • Reviewing existing wills
  • Designing and drafting international wills and Spanish testaments
  • Structuring foreign trusts to avoid or minimize Spanish inheritance tax liabilities
  • Advising on the use of Payable on Death accounts and the appointment of successor beneficiaries to allow for the transfer of assets outside of probate
  • Advising on Spanish inheritance and gift tax and  Double-Taxation Treaties
  • Preparing living wills and health care proxies for foreign nationals / domiciliaries.


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