Under a new EU regulation 650/2012, which comes into force on the 17th of next month, the Wills of foreigners who are fiscally resident in Spain need to contain a specific clause of preference about which national law should apply to their affairs when they die. Most British people will want British law to apply, not least because Spanish law restricts testators options to leave their assets as they wish. Wills drawn up fairly recently already have this clause in them because notaries have been aware of the coming requirement, but anyone with older Wills should ensure that they have new ones drawn up to be sure that British law will apply.
To be specific:
- anyone making a new Will will find that this clause is automatically inserted;
- anyone with an existing Will drawn up in the last year or so should check their Will to ensure that the clause was inserted;
- anyone with an older Will should get a new one drawn up if they wish to ensure that British law applies to their Will in the event of their death.
Please note that this applies only to those who are resident for tax purposes in Spain. Non-residents do not need to be concerned about this because under the EU regulation the law applicable to their Wills will be that of the country in which they are resident – i.e. the UK.