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What are the types of wills valid for an inheritance in Spain?

A will is a document made to state how a person's estate is to be distributed in the event of the owner's death. In Spain there are different types of wills that ensure these wills, and the selection is based on the particular needs of each inheritance. Therefore, in order to guarantee the understanding in matters of inheritance law and duties when drafting a will. Today we are going to explain which types of wills are valid for a inheritance in Spain.

1- Notarial open will

This type of will is executed before a notary, in order to be registered in the General Register of Last Wills. In these cases, the original document is safeguarded by the notary, thus ensuring its legality, and reducing the risk of its contestation.

Once done, the owner of the estate is left with a certificate informing of the existence of the document, with detailed information about where it is located and which notary is in charge of the protection of the will. This type of document is favorable, since simplifies the distribution of inheritanceIn this sense, only the presence of the testator and the notary is required to execute the last will of the deceased.

2- Special open wills

Currently there are certain scenarios that determine whether a will should be considered a special will, and these circumstances establish the execution of the will:

-Danger of death of the testator: in case of serious illness or accident, the will can be executed without the notary, with the presence of 5 witnesses.

-Epidemic danger: here the will is also executed without the presence of the notary, but 3 witnesses must be present to verify that the will of the deceased was carried out.

3- Holographic will

This corresponds to the will that is made by the owner himself. It must comply with specific guidelines in order to be valid before any legal institution:

-It must be written in the testator's own handwriting; in these cases, it is not valid if the owner of the property is unable to write and it is written by another person.

-It must be signed along with indications of where and when it was performed.

-In case of erasures, the testator must acknowledge them under signature.

-If the testator is a foreigner, he/she can write in his/her native language.

These wills must be presented within 10 days after the testator's death. To do so, it must be presented before a notary who will notarize the will, guaranteeing that the content complies with all the requirements demanded by law. On the other hand, some witnesses must be present to validate that the signature and handwriting belong to the deceased, and in case of doubts, a handwriting test must be presented.

4- Closed will

A closed will is one that is drafted under the will of the owner of the assets, and is delivered to the notary in a sealed envelope. In these cases the notary does not know the content of the document, and will draft a record containing the data and declarations made by the testator at the time of delivery.

The minutes must be signed by the testator, the notary and a witness, and the will may be kept by the notary or another person chosen by the testator.

5- Will made abroad

Any Spaniard outside of Spain can make an open or closed will before a Spanish probate court. Consul of Spain in the country where you are located. In these cases, the consulates can execute the procedure as a notary. But there are other cases where the testator makes his will according to the legislation where he is located, and although they are valid documents, they may entail a delay in the processes because they must be legalized before the Spanish authorities.

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