I have inherited in Spain or France: What to do?
When a foreign citizen inherits property in France or Spain, it is important to consider the specific laws and regulations of both countries. Below is an article that addresses the challenges and process that a non-French or non-Spanish heir may face when inheriting property in these countries.
Common difficulties for foreign heirs in France and Spain
Foreign heirs of property located in France or Spain often face a series of challenges. These may include the language barrier, confrontation with an unfamiliar legal system, and the need to comply with numerous mandatory formalities. In addition, heirs are likely to have to travel to France or Spain several times during the inheritance process.
How a specialized lawyer can help in the international inheritance process in Spain and France
Hiring a lawyer specialized in international inheritances, particularly those involving foreign citizens in France or Spain, can be very helpful. These lawyers can assist their clients in the various stages of the inheritance process, providing expert advice and representation in the execution of notarial deeds, tax procedures, and property registration.
Applicable law to the succession in Spain and France: Regulation (EC) No 650/2012
For all successions opened from August 17, 2015, Regulation (EC) No 650/2012 of July 4, 2012, determines the applicable law to the succession. The deceased may have chosen the applicable law to their succession through a will. This choice must be made explicitly or clearly result from the provisions of the will.
Determination of applicable law in the absence of choice If the deceased has not chosen the applicable law in their will, the applicable law to the succession will be determined based on their habitual residence at the time of their death. However, if it is proven that the deceased had closer ties to another State, the law of that State will apply to the succession.
The role of the notary in inheriting real estate in France and Spain
Deed of notoriety in France
The intervention of a French notary is mandatory when there are real estate properties located in France. The deed of notoriety is a public document that establishes the heir’s status and the parties involved in the succession. This deed must be granted by a French notary and will be necessary for carrying out various procedures, such as transferring property ownership and settling inheritance tax.
Deed of declaration of heirs in Spain
In Spain, when a person dies without leaving a will, it is necessary to obtain a Deed of declaration of heirs abintestato before a Spanish notary. This document establishes who the legal heirs are according to Spanish law and is necessary for carrying out similar procedures to those in France, such as transferring property ownership and settling inheritance tax.
Inheritance declaration and inheritance tax in France and Spain
Mandatory formalities for inheritance declaration In both countries, the inheritance declaration is a mandatory formality after a person’s death, with some exceptions. The beneficiaries of the inheritance must submit this declaration to the competent tax service within the deadlines set by law, under penalty of sanctions.
Calculation and payment of inheritance tax
The inheritance declaration allows the tax authorities of France and Spain to determine whether the inheritance is subject to taxes and, if so, calculate the amount of inheritance tax to be paid. Heirs must include all assets belonging to the deceased, whether located in France, Spain, or other countries, and verify international tax treaties to determine which State may tax the various assets included in the estate.
Sale of inherited property in France and Spain Sale process and legal representation If foreign heirs decide to sell the inherited real estate properties in France or Spain, a lawyer specialized in international inheritances can represent them in this process. The law firm can advise heirs on market conditions and ensure that all necessary legal and tax formalities are met for the successful sale of the property.
Repatriation of funds and tax considerations
Once the sale of the inherited real estate properties is completed, foreign heirs may face additional challenges in repatriating the funds to their home country. A lawyer specialized in international inheritances can advise heirs on the tax implications and appropriate procedures for transferring the funds efficiently and legally.
Conclusions and how a specialized lawyer can help International inheritances, such as those involving foreign citizens inheriting property in France or Spain, can be complicated and challenging processes. However, with the right guidance and representation, heirs can successfully navigate the inheritance process and ensure that all legal and tax obligations are met.
A lawyer specialized in international inheritances with extensive experience in Franco-Spanish cases or cases involving foreign citizens in France or Spain can be very helpful. The firm can provide expert advice and representation at all stages of the inheritance process, from the inheritance declaration to the sale of property and repatriation of funds. If you are a foreign heir with property in France or Spain, do not hesitate to contact us for advice and support in the process.