Erfrecht in Spanje


Erfrecht in Spanje

Inheritance law in Spain

Inheritance law, inheritance and wills

Spain has different legislation than the Netherlands. Good to know when you are going to live in Spain and you want to get married and have children there. But less pleasant matters such as divorce and alimony are also regulated differently in law than in the Netherlands. It is nice that you can get support from the Dutch-speaking advisors of Gimbrere Legal.

And what should you do in the event of a death in the family in Spain? What about inheritance, inheritance rights and making a will? What if you yourself are an heir? All questions you may face. At Gimbrere Legal, you have come to the right place for the answers.

Possessions in multiple countries

In the Netherlands, grandparents have a vacation home and in Luxembourg some money in the bank. When they die, their heirs almost certainly face the question: which law applies to the inheritance? The law applicable to the inheritance need not necessarily be the law of the testator’s nationality. Indeed, if the testator was resident abroad for a considerable time prior to his or her death, the law of the country of last habitual residence may also apply. In short, an issue that involves Private International Law.

Private international law is the collective term for a range of referral rules contained in treaties, regulations and laws. We have knowledge of both Dutch and Spanish Private International Law and will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have. Even if you want to know how best to arrange things for later we will be happy to assist you.

Difference Spain and the Netherlands

Inheritance law is a difficult and important area of law. It is therefore very important that you, as Dutch people in Spain, are well informed on this subject. But also on related matters such as wills and inheritance taxes.

We can advise you on inheritance tax in Spain as well as in the Netherlands. And what modifications are desirable in an existing will. If necessary, we will make a (bilingual) will for you according to Dutch inheritance law, with an apostille from the Court.

Verschil Spaans en Nederlands Erfrecht

Which inheritance law actually applies? That of the Netherlands, that of Spain or both countries? And what exactly are the differences between the Netherlands and Spain in terms of inheritance law. Get advice from our lawyers or read more about the differences between Spanish and Dutch inheritance law.

Gimbrere Legal advises you on inheritance law, inheritance taxes and wills.

Inheritance tax

You inherit something from someone in Spain. So when do you have to pay inheritance tax in Spain? You must pay inheritance tax if there is property located in Spain. For example, a home or a bank account, even if the heirs live in the Netherlands.

For heirs living in the Netherlands, Spain applies the national rate. You must pay Spanish inheritance tax within 6 months of death. Postponement is possible but the request for this must be made within 5 months of the date of death. We can request this for you. We may also request payment in installments.

In principle, an estate containing a home must also be settled before a Spanish notary. This is often a requirement of the property registry to proceed with naming. At the Spanish notary, you must provide translations of the documents. We screen this as much as possible so you save costs with this.

Inheritance with home

When settling an estate, you must provide the following documents:

  • Death certificate (international version), bearing an apostille;
  • Excerpt of Spanish Register of Wills;
  • An extract from the property register (if home);
  • Een certificaat van de bankrekening met het saldo op het moment van overlijden;
  • Een testament en eventuele verklaring van erfrecht;
  • An NIE number of the heirs.

In general, all official documents must have a certified translation into Spanish and an apostille (completed stamp). The valuation of the home, for example, is also important.


The inheritance lawyers of Gimbrere Legal advise in settling the estate of Dutch people in Spain. Verwerpt iemand een nalatenschap? The lawyers at Gimbrere can assist with that, too. They know exactly what steps to take.

An estate in Spain can often cause problems for Dutch people (in Spain). People are often unfamiliar with Spanish law and unaware that in most cases they have to pay inheritance tax in Spain.


In turn, Spanish notaries do not understand Dutch law. For example, it is incomprehensible to a Spanish notary that under Dutch law it is possible to attach conditions to a legacy (the legal inheritance). For example, that legacies may be claimable after the death of the survivor. Our inheritance lawyers will be happy to advise you on the following aspects:

  • Inheritance with residence;
  • Excerpt of Spanish Register of Wills;
  • Uittreksel eigendomsregister;
  • Bank account certificate;
  • Testament met of zonder verklaring van erfrecht.

Inheritance tax in Spain

Current Spanish law (ley de sucesión) exempts people from inheritance tax on inheritances lower than 16,000 euros. In general, there are no major estate tax exemptions when assets go to a partner or family members.

This amount seems on the low side but applies to each individual heir. So not for the total estate. If the joint value of a married couple’s house is 110,000 euros, then each partner is 55,000 euros. If the couple has three children, then divide this 55,000 by four (= 13,750). Because that is less than 16,000, the children and partner do not have to pay inheritance tax in Spain on this.

Heirs under age 21 can receive an exemption of up to 48,000 euros. Elk jaar dat men jonger dan 21 jaar is betekent 4.000 euro minder vrijstelling. This rule applies until age 13. The mentioned exemptions apply to inheritance between parents, children, spouses, siblings. Uncles, aunts, cousins and nieces are entitled to exemption for amounts under 8,000 euros.

Shorter or longer than 10 years in Spain

In Spain, a Dutch testator who has lived in Spain for less than 10 years at death is considered a resident of the Netherlands. This means the heirs must pay inheritance tax according to Dutch rates. Did the testator live in Spain for more than ten years? Then certain assets left behind in the Netherlands (including real estate) are also subject to inheritance tax.

Unmarried couples

There is no common law in Spain as there is in the Netherlands. An unmarried cohabiting couple with children cannot derive any rights from this. No legal relationship exists for Spanish law and considers the children to be children of a single mother. The mother is the sole parent in the legal sense. If the children’s father wants to leave parts of his inheritance to the children, they are not entitled to lower inheritance tax.

Exemption from inheritance tax residents in Spain

Spouse and children have an exemption of 95% (Andalusia 99.9%) of the market value of the property. The maximum exemption amount is 120,000 euros. Conditions are:

  • The heirs have been official Spanish residents for at least three years.
  • The home was the testator’s primary residence for the last three years.
  • The heirs may not sell this property within 10 years of the testator’s death.

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