Problems When Inheriting a Spanish Property with Others

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Posted and filed under Legal Issues in Spain.

Some issues that we see from time to time are problems when inheriting a Spanish property with others. This is quite common as Spanish property is owned in percentages thus if two partners or spouses, for example, leave their 50% shares to different people in their Wills.

Family Problems When Inheriting a Spanish Property With Others

We have seen many times property inherited for example by several children. It may not be that all of the children wish to make use of the property. Or share the costs. Or they do not get on with all their siblings. But what can be done in these situations? There are three options:-

  • Sale of the property – all owners have to agree and sign
  • Dissolution of Joint Ownership – this is when the owners all agree to dissolve the joint ownership so it just goes to one name. This is a special transaction in Spain and is cheaper than purchase and sale generally, although there are still several costs to pay
  • Purchase and sale of shares – for example, two of four owners transfer their shares to the other two owners. This can be an expensive option.

Donation or gifting can also be a possibility but the tax free allowances of the region need considering. This can also be a dear option.

The ideal way forward is to explain to us what you wish to achieve. We will need the deeds and suma/IBI (council tax) for the property. Then we can calculate costs (which will almost always be 4,000€ plus) and advise a strategy.

Responsibility

It should be noted that all legal owners have a responsibility to pay their share of general costs associated with the property. These may be mortgage, community fees, suma/IBI council tax and their non resident tax (if applicable). They also have the right to use the property or derive income from letting it. Utilities are split or paid by the person using the property. Any owner who does not cover their share of the costs can face a claim for the debt when the property is sold from the co-owners, or even before.

Problems When Inheriting a Spanish Property With Others Who are Unrelated

Many times, we see a situation whereby the co-owners who inherit and have to accept the inheritance via a Spanish probate are not related. Maybe a situation whereby there is a nephew of one deceased owner, for example, with the previous partner of the person who died. What happens when the co-owners do not get on? In this case, if an agreement cannot be reached between the two owners to share the property and split the bills, then they need to decide jointly what to do.

The options are basically as above. If one of the owners refuses to do anything, then the other owner/s can engage a lawyer and proceed with a forced dissolution of joint ownership to buy them out (less what they owe) through the Courts.

We are sure we could help many people with these types of issues, so just check with us if you have any queries regarding these types of situations.

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