Case Study – Wills Between Countries
Last week, we had this enquiry from a client:
Good Morning, my mother passed away and has a property and assets in Bendidorm and I believe there is a will ( although I have not seen it ) and a property and assets in the UK where NO WILL has been found.
Is it possible that her English assets could be included in her Spanish will or her English will is stored with the Spanish one?
If there is no English Will but a Spanish one, under UK law will her wishes in Spain be used as her wishes in the UK or will it go to probate please?
I would so appreciate your advice. Many thanks.
Our response was as follows,
Firstly, I am sorry about your mother.
Regarding your queries, in Spain there is a central Wills registry and the first thing we always have to do is to send an original apostilled death certificate to Madrid to find out if there was a Last Will in Spain and if so, what Notary it was made at. A Spanish Will just covers all assets in Spain. We cannot search online.
For the UK, there is a website, just go on here and press the button https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate
Then you put in her name and year of death and it will show if there was a UK Will.
For the UK, even if there was a UK Will, UK probate is needed for Estates over a certain amount (and with a property and assets you will need to arrange this) but you need to use a UK solicitor for advice on this. By the way, quotes for UK probate and Administration vary, get a couple of quotes at least.
If there is a Spanish Will, it covers Spanish assets only. Although you could speak to a UK solicitor to see if it could be used in an for UK probate application, I do not think it can, and it would depend on the wording. That is UK jurisdiction for this advice.
If no Spanish Will and a UK Will then Grant of Probate needs applying for to prove in Spain who is the heir, if no UK Will Letters of Administration (both needed in UK for the Estate).
If no UK Will, then Letters of Administration will need to be applied for, for use in Spain and England https://www.gov.uk/wills-probate-inheritance/if-the-person-didnt-leave-a-will
I hope this helps. We can send for the Last Will Certificate in Spain for you, as this is rather technical and I have not known anyone without legal qualification or experience do it themselves.
So basically for Spain, we would need just a Spanish Will (no UK probate) or UK probate (if a UK Will) or Letters of Administration (if no UK Will).