Rules of Private International Law
The EU Succession Regulation (EUSR) came into force in summer 2012. After a transitional period of three years it will then apply to estates of deceased persons passing away after summer 2015. Until then, Spainwill continue to apply the law of the deceased’s nationality to determine the succession rules applicable to his/her worldwide estate, although in some circumstances Spainwill accept a renvoi from the national law to Spanish law.
After 2015, Spanish law will govern the inheritance rights ifSpainwas the last country where the deceased was ‘habitually resident’, unless the deceased has elected by will to apply his/her national law.
The EUSR is binding on all courts, within the European Union except forDenmark, theUKandIreland. England, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands will presumably still apply Spanish law to all movables situate within the jurisdiction of their courts where the deceased dies domiciled in Spain, but the EUSR will enable a Spanish-domiciled British subject who is habitually resident in Spain to avoid Spanish forced heirship rules being applied to his/her estate within Spain and all other EU countries by electing by will to apply English law.
Where Spanish law applies, part of the estate (including lifetime gifts, which must be brought into ‘hotchpot’) must be reserved for the forced heirs: the extent of their legitim will vary, depending on the number of heirs and their proximity of kinship with the deceased and the applicable regional law.
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.