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How to claim an inheritance without a will in Spain?

When a loved one dies, there are always a lot of legal processes involved, such as: the issuance of the death certificate, notarial records, inheritance processes, among others. These help us to transfer the assets and obligations, at the same time that we comply with the rights and wills of the deceased. This is why estate planning is essential, but when there is no will, the processes tend to be a little longer.

Taking into account this context, in this article we will explain the procedures to claim an inheritance without a will in Spain.

What are the steps to claim an inheritance without a will in Spain?

In many cases, inheritances without a will can represent a setback if you do not have all the documents at your disposal, especially if it is a complex estate. But with the help of this guide you will be able to claim your inheritance in a few simple steps:

1- Request a literal death certificate from the Civil Registry Office.

This is a public document that you must use in different parts of the legal process that you are going to carry out. You can request it at the Civil Registry where the deceased died, and it does not take long to be issued.

2- Apply for the Register of Last Wills and Life Insurance.

After 15 days prior to the death, you must go to the General Registry of Last Will and Testament in Madrid or the locality where it corresponds. There you will request the certificate of last will and testament and the life insurance. And with the issuance of these documents you will be able to verify if the deceased registered a will and life insurance in order to proceed with the claim.

As we are talking about a case in which there is no will, at that moment, a Declaration of heirs without a will must be requested to the notary, in writing and in the presence of two witnesses who are not relatives: a Declaration of heirs without a will.

In addition to the following documents: death certificate, birth certificate of the deceased's children, certificate from the registry of last wills, death certificate of the deceased's children, marriage certificate of the deceased, NIF of the deceased or certificate of census registration.

3- Receives the Declaration of Heirs from the notary public.

After 20 working days or one month, the notary will give you a deed declaring certain relatives as heirs of the deceased. You must respect this order of succession and start collecting the personal documents of each heir.

4- Draft an acceptance and partition of the inheritance.

The next step to claim an inheritance without a will, is to draft before the notary, a deed where all the heirs accept the inheritance and the distribution percentages stipulated by law. So, in order to carry out this procedure, they must be presented together with all the documentation related to the estate, insurance and debts of the deceased.

5- Awaiting the economic valuation and awarding of the assets

The notary must compile all this information to make an economic valuation of the assets, and adjudicate them according to the framework of the law. So this is the way to make sure that the order and percentages of distribution are in accordance with the Autonomous Community where the process is open.

In case the heirs do not agree, they can file a lawsuit before the corresponding court.

6- Pay the Inheritance and Gift Tax within 6 months, extendable.

Once the deed of adjudication of assets is done, you will have to proceed to pay the amount calculated in the registry for the Inheritance and Donation Tax. So in case you cannot afford it at that moment, the term can be extended for 6 more months.

7- If there are properties in the inheritance, municipal capital gains tax must be paid.

This is the Tax on the Increase in Value of Urban Land, and must be paid in the municipalities where the properties are located.

8- Register the property records in the name of the new owners.

This is the last step to claim an inheritance without a will in a satisfactory way. Once the Plusvalia municipal is paid, you go back to the notary to make effective the change in the name of the owner of the real estate.

If you would like to obtain more information or need advice on this and other issues of inheritance law or international criminal law, please do not hesitate to contact contact us at through our form. In addition, we share with you our social networks so that you can keep updated on the legal topics that are in trend: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter y Linkedin.