UK owners of Spanish property assets can minimise potential probate and inheritance tax issues for heirs with specialist inheritance tax planning advice.

Spanish inheritance tax is complex

If you are a British individual who owns assets, including property, that are located in Spain, you may not have considered what will happen to these assets when you are no longer around to look after them. Life is busy and we often neglect to take steps to ensure that those who follow us do not become burdened with complex, frustrating matters that, with some effective planning and good tax advice, could be have been prevented. Spanish lawyer and tax expert Carlos Montesa explains what British owners of Spanish assets need to know.

“Inheritance tax laws in Spain are very different to those in the UK. Many British people with Spanish assets (such as property) do not consider the potential problems that lie in wait for their heirs who will be trying to deal with their assets upon their death. It is very important to take good advice now to ensure a smooth transition.”

Carlos Montesa, Partner, Abbantia Abogados & Asesores Tributarios

In Spain, inheritance tax rules are very different from what you may be used to in the UK. There are two key issues to consider in advance of your death to ensure the Spanish assets in your estate can pass to your heirs / loved ones in as smooth a process as possible:

• Beneficiaries (i.e. those in your Will) only have a 6 month period in which to initiate and conclude probate matters and pay related inheritance taxes

• Tax is levied upon the individual beneficiaries, rather than upon you (the deceased).

It is therefore clear that you must do everything you can to plan for the future to ensure that your Spanish assets can be transferred after your death in an efficient way that saves you and your beneficiaries time, hassle and money. And of course, it is always best to take advice sooner rather than later so that you can relax in the knowledge that your affairs are in good order.

It is advisable that British people get high quality tax and legal advice to protect their Spanish assets. At Abbantia, we are specialised in helping British and foreign clients who have assets (including real estate / property) held in Spain and can offer a full range of legal services to assist foreign individuals including advice on property, Wills, probate and inheritance tax planning.

We have offices across Spain and can assist in all locations. And we will also work with our Alliott Group member colleagues around the world to ensure that similar advice needed in other countries is joined up, fees are cost efficient, and communications are effective.

This article has been put together by our fellow Alliott Group members at Abbantia. For further information, please contact Ellisons’ Head of Private Client, Tim Logan.