The Green Box


Posted and filed under General Articles of Interest, Official Documents in Spain.

Six years ago in the newsletter, we published this story that one of our clients passed to us, and we would like to share it with you once again, as many of you will not have seen it.

Jim McArthur was a TEC Australia member. His father John was also a TEC member. John called his son Jim to let him know that he’d be flying to New Zealand the following day to try to close an important business deal. Jim, a pilot in the Air Guard Reserves warned his father that potential typhoons could make travel hazardous. John laughed and reminded Jim that if anything tragic happened, to remember to get the “Green Box” out of the closet in his bedroom.

The next day, John was killed when his plane crashed into the side of a mountain on the north island in very low visibility. Several days after the funeral, he remembered his father’s words about the Green Box.

He called his mother and they brought the Green Box to the family attorney. Inside, they found 28 envelopes. Here are the labels on the envelopes:

Letter to my Wife
Letter to each child (3)
Letter to the employees
Letter to my mother
List of most important 5 employees in the company & their strengths/weaknesses
Off balance sheet deals
Organisational Chart
Details of any company trusts
List of personal and business people that should be contacted in the event of passing
Deals in process and evaluation of them
Strategy that I am thinking about but haven’t told anybody about
List of Trusted Advisors and their roles (may or may not be currently working with company) such as attorney, accountant,
Instructions not addressed in Will
Copies of POA documents
Copy of Passport, Birth Certificate
Copy of all credit cards
Copy of physical property titles
Personal stock portfolio information
Details of Life insurance and of all other insurance
Copies of personal property valuations
Computer passwords
Personal Financial Statement
Extra passport photos
Medical/Dental Charts
Funeral/Burial Instructions
Mementoes and to whom I’d like them given

We love this story and shows how thorough some people can be! Although we certainly don´t think that most people would go this extent, we do recommend that you keep important papers in a safe place, such as deeds to your properties, a copy of the property tax bill, your Will, bank statements of different accounts,  and details of insurance policies.  Mr McArthur went way beyond simply leaving instructions of where his Will was!

Let us remind you that if you are a UK or Irish resident you are able, unlike the Spanish or residents of other countries, to decide who inherits your property.  If you die without making a Spanish Will, intestate, then the law of the home country will usually prevail and Probate, or Letters of Administration, (if there is no Will in the home country), will be applied for in the Home Country, but then we need a Hague Apostille for international use, and the document to be translated to Spanish. This can be very expensive so it really is best to make a Spanish Will. (I note that we have not increased our prices for Wills in the past 6 years!)

Contact Amanda on for further details on how to make a Spanish Will or with any queries.

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