Update on the European Rules of Succession

As many of you will know the new regulations on Wills and Succession came into force in the middle of August whilst most of us were on the beach, on holiday or hiding in the shade.

The new rules mean that when a person dies the law of the country in which they are a habitual resident at the time of death will apply to deal with their assets. The regulation also allows, though, for people to “opt out” of this and to choose for their assets to be dealt with under the laws of their own Country. Since the announcement there has been a big rush of Ex Pats heading to their Lawyers to make changes to their Wills.

It’s important to remember that the 17th August was NOT a cutoff point and that you can still change your will to reflect the changes. What is also important is to consider your position globally. There are, as many people will be aware, big differences in the legal systems here in Spain and in England and Wales, or Scotland. Trusts, which are a normal tool in the UK to protect the next generation from Inheritance Tax, for example, do not exist in Spain, and therefore it is vitally important not just to translate the English Will into Spanish and add the clause to select English Law.

Wills are very important documents, not just to ensure that the maker’s wishes are carried out after their death but also to ensure that those left behind do not have a big mess to deal with. Like any legal document it is important to get it right and ensure that everything is included and covered.

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