When a property-owning spouse or family member dies having left no will in Spain or in their country of residence the procedure can be very costly and time consuming. In the UK you can generally notify the Land Registry, the banks etc to transfer property into your sole name if you are the surviving spouse. In some cases where the estate is not of a high value no other formalities are required. An application can be made for Letters of administration on intestacy by the surviving spouse or family though this can be quite complicated.
This is very different in Spain as your Spanish property passes independently to your appointed heirs and there is a procedure required to prove who should receive. Spanish law applies the law of your nationality to your estate. Therefore if you die leaving Spanish assets and have not made a valid will in either country your heirs need to prove firstly the law that should be applied on intestacy and secondly that they are entitled to inherit. This applies to your spouse even though you may be joint owners of the assets.
The European regulation 650/2012 allows for the law of nationality to be applied to your dispositions. This is particularly important if you want your estate to be left to your surviving spouse or if there is a second family. Remember that prevention is not only better than cure in this situation it is also less costly than cure.
For more information contact [email protected] or telephone 952 931781 or 952 527014