Handwritten wills in Spain

Filed under : Wills, Probate & Inheritance

A holographic or hand-written will is a document that has been completely written out by hand by the testator and has been signed by him or her. This is different to a will executed and signed before a public notary in Spain. Provided a hand-written will complies with certain requirements it is valid to deal with the estate of the deceased.  

It is very important to ensure that your dispositions are valid in accordance with your personal or national law. For example, it is obligatory for Spanish nationals to leave a percentage of their assets to their children. In an English will you have free disposition. Please take legal advice in Spain before writing out a will to ensure that your wishes can be followed. A lawyer can provide the legally valid text which can then be handwritten.

Below are the requirements for a hand-written will in accordance with the Spanish Civil Code Articles 688 to 693. A handwritten will is not normally required as notaries are normally available at their offices or can attend at home or hospital visits if the matter is urgent. However, in the current health crisis it is a viable alternative provided you take legal advice.

What are the requirements to ensure validity of a handwritten will?

·         The will must be granted by an adult.

·         The will must state the full name and identify the testator

·         It must be in the normal handwriting of the person and signed by the person using their normal signature. It can be in the language of the testator

·         The will must state the day, the month and the year in which it is written

·         Any amended words, crossings out, brackets or modifications must have the signature of the testator

This type of will is only advisable if there is some urgency and/or it is not possible to attend a notary in the current crisis. There are certain other arrangements that can be made with witnesses present but it is best to ensure that the will is going to be valid by checking with a lawyer.

This type of will is exceptional and therefore the need to handwrite the document rather than use any computer, typewriter or other mechanical or digital production is essential. If at all possible, there should also be no crossings out or other amendments and if there are these must be clearly signed by the testator.

One of the very important requirements is that the will must be written out by the testator without the knowledge or active participation of the beneficiaries.

The advantages are the convenience and speed if a person cannot attend a notary. If you would like legal advice in Spain to ensure the will is going to be valid and your family and beneficiaries are protected please contact us on [email protected] or call on 952 527014.