Filed under : Civil Law, Family Law

This is not an entirely flippant title for this article and it hopefully will make you read on! It is an old adage from UK lawyers who deal with wills that some people would prefer to leave their assets to Battersea Dogs home than to their children.

The fact is that in England as in a number of other common law jurisdictions a person has free disposition of their assets. In England there was no legal protection for anyone economically dependent on a person who cut them out of their will until 1975 when the Inheritance and Family Dependants Act came into force. This law was brought in to protect a husband, wife, child or other person who had been relying on an income say for day to day living or for education so that they could claim against the estate if they had been left nothing or excluded.

In many other countries such as Spain a person has obligatory heirs and in Spain you must leave 2/3 of your estate to your children. Scotland has a concept of prior rights for spouses and children but the English and Welsh legal system does not. Most English people do leave their assets to each other and then pass them on to the children. Where there is no family to leave property to you can leave your assets and property to a charity and this can be done in a Spanish form will signed before a notary public.

It is always a good idea to get advice on the tax position for the family or heirs who would receive your assets and property particularly as for non-resident property owners there is no spouse exemption from inheritance tax. Charities do not have to pay any tax on gifts they receive but it is important to identify the charity with its registered number and full address.

For more information about your requirements for a Will in Spain, and how best to protect your assets in UK, Spain and abroad, please book a private consultation with De Cotta Law.


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