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What are legacies in Spain | Inheritance and Successions


What are legacies in Spain?

A bequest is a disposition, legally formalisedThe testator's will, of an asset or of a part of the whole of his or her property, in favour of someone and which must be respected by the heir or heirs.

Therefore, the testator uses the bequest to establish how certain assets are to be distributed within his inheritancefor example: a car, a watch, a house or a computer.

Limits on bequests in Spain

  • In cases where the legatee is an heir, so much property may not be bequeathed as to prejudice the third of the compulsory heirs' strict reserved portion. That is to say, if the bequeathed asset is the only asset of the inheritance, or if not the only one, the most valuable one, the legatee (the one who receives the bequest), must compensate the rest of the heirs financially so that their legitimate share is not harmed.
  • In cases where the legatee is a third party (non-heir)the value of the bequest may not exceed the one-third of free disposalThe third of the reserved portion of the reserved portion and the third of the improvement shall be reserved for the children.
legacies in spain

What happens to assets that have been bequeathed in a will?

Assets that have been bequeathed are set aside from the estate and do not form part of the lot to be distributed among the heirs after death.

Furthermore, the law establishes that the legatee cannot appropriate the property on his own account, but must receive it through the heir(s).

Example of legacy in Spain

Pepe has three children: Pablo, María and Lucas, and decides to make a specific bequest to Lucas: a flat valued at 210,000 euros. Thus, after Pepe's death, the first step is to hand over the bequest to Lucas and then divide what is left equally among the three children.

However, the remaining assets are a current account with 30,000 euros. Therefore, Lucas would inherit 210,000 euros from the flat, plus 10,000 euros from the current account, while the brothers would inherit only 10,000 euros each.

So, the next step is to calculate the legitimate share: 240,000 euros, the result of adding the 30,000 euros from the current account and the 210,000 euros from the flat. The legitimate third would be 80,000 euros which, divided between the three siblings, would result in a legitimate share of 26,600 euros for each heir as opposed to the 10,000 euros that would result if the legacy is applied.

And, as we commented above, legacies have a limit that corresponds to the legitimate share of the heirs. Therefore, if Lucas wants to keep the flat, he will have to financially compensate his siblings up to the 26,600 euros that correspond to each of them for their legitimate inheritance.

Types of legacies in Spain

  1. Bequest of something specific and proper to the testator
  2. Bequest of something belonging to a third party or bequest of something partially belonging to someone else
  3. Bequest of a thing of the person obliged to pay it
  4. Bequest of the legatee's own property
  5. Alternative legacy
  6. Bequest of an encumbered thing
  7. Bequest of a generic thing
  8. Legacy of periodical benefits, and more specifically, legacy of maintenance and education allowances.
  9. Bequest of credit or debt relief

Difference between legacy and inheritance

A legacy can only be ordered in a will and the person who receives the legacy is called the legatee. The legatee does not have the status of heir.

Inheritance and Succession Lawyer in Malaga

As we have seen, each inheritance or will has its own particularities. That is why, at Ódice Abogados, lawyers specialising in Inheritance and Succession Law in MalagaWe are at your complete disposal to analyse your case and resolve all your doubts.

You can request information about our Inheritance and Probate services or book an appointment with us at this form.

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