Family Law and Defined Inheritance Rules

i. Family law:

  • Separation of Goods – each spouse owns their own property.
  • Community of property (gananciales) – All assets acquired during the marriage except by gift or inheritance are automatically owned in equal shares.

ii. Inheritance rules: These vary between Autonomous regions. Issue, parents and spouse are forced heirs. If there are children they are usually entitled to two thirds between them while the surviving spouse is only entitled to a life interest in one third. This leaves one third which can be feely disposed of.

iii. Intestacy: The rules are set out in Article 912 et seq. of the Civil Code- Subject to the right of any surviving spouse (to a life interest in 1/3rd) the estate passes to

a. children and issue in equal shares per stirpes failing which
b. parent(s) and ascendendents inherit. Otherwise
c. the surviving spouse takes all but if there is no surviving spouse
d. uncles and aunts inherit dividing the inheritance equally between paternal and maternal lines. Subject thereto more distant relatives inherit and if there are none
e. the estate pass to the Spanish State


Please note: The information contained in these pages is given without charge and without responsibility. It is not a substitute for proper professional advice which we shall be happy to give if so instructed.