How to avoid legal/forced heirs. Brussels IV

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03 Sep 2014 14:06 by mariadecastro Star rating in Algeciras (Cadiz). 9321 posts Send private message

Legal Questions? Speak to Maria Direct

Legal tip 1198. Brussels IV or on how to avoid my forced heirs 
03 September 2014 @ 08:13 


Brussels IV or on how to avoid my forced heirs

 We already posted several times on this.  A new EU Regulation passed in 2012 (650/2012, also knows as Brussels IV) brings easiness to international inheritances.

These regulation has three basic pillars:

  1. It makes sure that every succession is treated under a single Law and by one authority.
  2. It also enables citizens to choose between law of residency and law of nationality for their inheritance affairs.
  3.  Creation of the European Certificate of Sucession

Brussels IV applies to inheritances with or without testament. It does not imply, in any sense, the alteration of  the substantive National inheritance Law of every European Country. Matters such as who are inheritors, or how taxes apply are not impacted in any way by this new European regulation.

This regulation also creates the European Certificate of Succession, which will facilitate the proving of status and rights as heir/ administrator of the estate/ executor of will. This certificate will be issued by the country where the deceased had habitual residency and will provide proof of entitlement in the estate to all signatory countries.

After this regulation, if you are a UK National but live permanently in Spain and have no estate assets in the UK make sure that you choose law of Nationality in your will as on the contrary, your inheritance will be governed by Spanish rules and its obligatory heirs at your death


These rules will apply to all persons dying after 17th of August 2015 so it is important that you make the necessary preventive changes in your will before that date.  You can use this new regulation and choose Nationality Law now, always provided you perform the change according to rules set up in the regulation/ applicable private International Law.

Residency status is determined by facts: duration and regularity of the deceased´s presence in the country. Residency requires close and stable connection with the specific country.

UK, Denmark and Ireland did not sign the regulation but any UK, Denmark or Irish nationalhaving habitual residency in Spain are under the force of this regulation and if they want their national succession Law to be applied they need to grant a new will in Spain . If they had assets in the UK, Ireland or Denmark a grant of probate will be necessary to administer the Uk, Ireland or Denmark assets.

The Regulation is not applicable to persons residing in the UK who just own Spanish assets.Private international law rules of English law would apply Spanish law to any property situated in Spain and therefore Spanish law will always apply to Spanish property owned by UK residents.




Maria L. de Castro, JD, MA



El blog de Maria

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