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Legal Questions Podcast With Maria de Castro

Every month, in association with Maria de Castro of Costa Luz Lawyers, we're going to be bringing you a recorded podcast where Maria will be answering your questions relating to Spanish law. Be informed!

Legal Podcast with Maria de Castro
06 November 2015 @ 18:47


Comment: Hi Maria

When we bought our house in Spain we had to have a life insurance policy to cover our mortgage. We did not have a choice in this so we took it out with Mapfre. 

We just sold the house so I cancelled the insurance premium as we no longer have a mortgage and it is 157 euros per month so quite a substantial amount. 

I have been informed by the agent from Mapfre that I cannot cancel the policy until June 2016 which is the anniversary of when we took it out and we have to give 3 months’ notice! Surely this is not fair - I wrote to them to inform them I was cancelling the insurance last week and to cancel the direct debit (which has now been refunded by the bank). 

I am tempted not to pay this anymore but wondered how we stand legally and could there be a problem for me if I don't pay it.


I would communicate to Mapfre your right on stopping the monthly payment of the life insurance in written and would stop paying right after that.

You right to cancel the Insurance before the end of the annual period is because there I no risk to be covered anymore. This situation is allowed by the Insurance Contract Act.

The fact that you have now sold the house makes the risk inexistent.



Comment: If there are 2 wills which would be recognized under Spanish law?  The older one in Spain leaves Spanish property to the daughter.  The newer one in the UK States "whatsoever and where so ever " leaves to the wife.

Last one in the UK applies if it was granted respecting the applicable Inheritance Law. Applicable inheritance law is that of the Nationality of the deceased unless if residing in Spain, the deceased granted a will choosing Spain Law as the applicable Law. Hope this clarifies Kindest, María



Comment: My two adult sons are on the deeds for my Spanish Apartment. Because the apartment is mortgaged what happens if one of my son's dies? Does his wife have the responsibility of paying that share of the mortgage? 

I assume that when you say they are on the deeds, you mean they are owners and also mortgage debtors.
From the marriage legal regime perspective
It depends on when they bought the apartment (if before or after marriage), and what legal regime they have.
Just it apartment was bought after marriage and they have common goods regime, the widow will be liable of keeping payments of mortgage up
From inheritance law perspective 
If your son name her as her heir she will have, by title of inheritance the obligation of paying the mortgage.



Comment: What are the laws relating to siblings inheriting property on death please? If my only daughter and my partners´ three sons were to inherit our jointly owned house at our deaths how that would be divided please? 
50 % and three thirds of the remaining 50 %?


I take you are talking about a Spanish house and that you are UK nationals. If you both grant a will according to your National Law, portions established there will apply. 
If Spanish law applies--- because you chose them under Brussels IV or UK law forward your inheritance to Spain---- you need to respect rules of forced heirs each of you. Yours will be your sons and hers her own ones.
Rules of distribution among forced heirs are as follows:
Spouse – The usufruct of 1/3 of the late spouse’s assets.

Children – Will automatically receive 2/3 of the deceased parent’s estate in Spain. This legacy will be divided into equal shares among all the siblings. If any of the deceased’s children died before him/her, then inheritor’s share will be granted to the deceased’s grandchildren. 
Should there not be grandchildren of the deceased son or daughter, his/her siblings’ inheritance will be incremented proportionally.  They will share with spouse ownership rights on the 1/3 left, which usufruct, as said, is for the widow/er.

Parents – Will be the heirs of the entire estate in Spain if there were no children or grandchildren.



Comment: Hi there, my mother and father own an apartment in Tenerife, and sadly my dad was diagnosed with dementia in January 2015. His illness has progressed very rapidly and my mother who is also in her seventies can no longer cope alone. They are relocating urgently to be near me in England but as my Dad will undoubtedly need full nursing care, can the UK authorities make my mum and dad sell their property to fund dads care?    This is their only home and my mother would hope to return to Tenerife at some point in the future.

In Spain, your worldwide assets back your debts. There are rules for household protection as the individual bankruptcy one. I guess it is the same in the UK.
Depending on how strong the lender is against enforcement against worldwide assets in the UK, level of debt… the risk exists or not obviously.
 If the Spanish property has a mortgage on it, no posterior debtor can repossess the property before the Bank.



Comment: I bought my Spanish apartment 3 years ago ,i have just come over on holiday and in my post box i have a suma bill for 1600 euros ,my solicitor says he will sort it ,we have found out that our seller has not paid the taxes on sale of property, and now the bill has  been put in my name as owner of property ,can that be as bill to be paid by end of October .


This type of problem originates at the signing of the Notary Public Deed so it is important the advice that we received at that time. 
Spanish law, in order to protect the incomes of Town Councils, includes a guarantee that entitles municipalities to collect this tax from previous years from the new owner with the consequent economic damage to it. This warranty is called "afección real" (charge of the real estate)
Because of this Law, Notaries must obtain information on the IBI debt status of the property and also warn the new owner at the time of the sale that any outstanding IBI debt is attached to the property he is buying.
The buyer on his part needs to request this info when buying his house. If this information was not provided to the buyer or he declares that he knows and acknowledges the situation for not to delay the sale, then we might face a problem

This obligation has of course a limit:
 The City is entitled to collect the unpaid bills of the calendar year in which house purchase happens and the one immediate before. 
A request by the Town Council beyond that can be challenged 
Some points of defense below:
1. 4 years prescription
2. Follow of the correct recovery procedure, both in voluntary as in enforcement periods up to the declaration of fail of the principal debtor.
3. Challenge a possible wrong liquidation


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Kevillie said:
06 November 2015 @ 19:29

Thank you Maria for your comments on my question regarding the cancellation of our Life Insurance policy. I sent them a letter by burofax stating our intention to cancel. I gave them 2 months notice and have now cancelled any future payments. I received a letter from them stating that if we do not make payments the policy will be cancelled so that is a good outcome for us. Thank you for your assistance.

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