Inheritance Law



If you are a foreign resident in Spain owning real estate or have inherited a property in the country, you should count on expert legal and tax advice.

As lawyers specializing in inheritance law in Spain, we can answer your questions about regulations and the applicable Spanish or Catalan inheritance law.

We can also support you in administrative and judicial proceedings in Spain and abroad – in English, German, Spanish, and Catalan.


If a relative dies with a connection to Spain – e.g., an owner of a holiday property in Spain – heirs often confront legal issues relating to an international succession.

Therefore, knowing which succession law applies to inherited property in Spain is fundamental. Whether Spanish, Catalan, or foreign inheritance law is applied to an estate, then decides who will be heirs.

Catalan inheritance law may apply to the estate of a foreign testator, for example, if he was last habitually resident in Catalonia.

Our experts in inheritance law will go over your case and carefully advise you on:

  • Your legal situation and which is the applicable inheritance law
  • Examination and, if necessary, contestation of Spanish or foreign wills
  • Regulating inheritance in Spain and other European countries
  • Probate proceedings in Spain when applying Spanish inheritance law
  • Legal proceedings in inheritance law in Spain (e.g., certificate of inheritance, in Spain, disputes among heirs)
  • Disputes between communities of heirs and division of inheritances

If you are the testator, avoid ambiguities and disputes about which inheritance law will apply. You can make a will and determine the application of one or the other inheritance law (so-called choice of law).

To make a reasonable choice, a lawyer familiar with the applicable succession laws should be involved in drawing up the will.

Our experienced lawyers at Dr. Höhne are willing to help you.

Inheritance law by Autonomous Communities

Even non-Spaniards can draw up a will under Spanish law and regulate their succession. The legal situation is complicated by the fact that in Spain, several autonomous communities (Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Galicia, Aragón, the Basque Country, and Navarre) have their own inheritance law (so-called “Foral law”), which often differs significantly from the Spanish one.

That’s why it’s always advisable to involve a lawyer knowledgeable in Spanish inheritance law when drawing up a will.

Our core competencies in inheritance law in Spain are:

  • Comprehensive advice and support in Spanish inheritance law & the laws of the autonomous communities with their own inheritance law (especially Catalonia).
  • Preparation and design of wills, inheritance contracts, and legacies
  • Legal review of European and Spanish wills
  • Legal adjustment wills


If an heir is only subject to a tax liability in Spain as a “non-resident” (any person who spends less than 183 days per year in Spain), the inheritance tax liability only applies to assets located in Spain. For example, Spanish real estate or bank accounts.

If you inherit an apartment or a holiday home in Spain, inheritance tax may also apply in Spain. From a tax point of view, as the autonomous regional authorities in Spain are responsible for inheritance and gift tax legislation, there are 17 different inheritance and gift tax laws in Spain -some with considerable differences.

In addition, there are no agreements to avoid double taxation between Spain and some European countries. However, crediting the Spanish inheritance tax is usually possible on request.

If there are assets in Catalonia, the inheritance tax is calculated on request, even for non-residents, under Catalan inheritance tax law. In this case, inheriting children, spouses, or partners receive a tax exemption of up to 99% of the tax liability in addition to the statutory exemption.

The deceased’s spouse and partner can claim the full exemption of 99%. For children, the exemption is calculated depending on the value of their inheritance share. However, the extent of the tax exemption decreases as the value of the inheritance share increases.

As experts in inheritance tax law in Spain, we can provide you:

  • Advice on inheritance and gift tax issues
  • Calculation of inheritance tax in Spain
  • Tax-efficient estate planning
  • Filing inheritance tax returns
  • Assistance in applying for credit
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