With the polls neck-and-neck, Marbella lawyer Alex Radford takes a look at what a Brexit will mean in the days, months and years following an out vote:
The UK and Europe wake to the reality that Brexit is on. The world is in shock! Brexiteers are still partying. The Remain campaigners are nowhere to be seen.
European stock markets open and immediately crash.
The pound falls by more than 20 cents against the euro.
In Spain, expats and locals are still recovering from their San Juan hangovers. Summer has arrived, or has it?
Expat estate agents begin to receive calls from worried Brits who question whether they can afford their Spanish property purchase, after all, due to the slump of the pound. Spanish mortgage brokers are inundated with calls to rearrange terms… it’s better, after all, to take a euro mortgage rather than lose deposits paid.
Hundreds of law firms are instructed to invoke their Brexit clause and cancel their property purchase contracts. Currency companies have one of their best trading days as Brits who sold their Spanish property buy sterling.
The acting Spanish prime minister warns Brits living in Spain that life will become difficult as there will be no free movement of labour and agreements in place between the countries for healthcare and pensions will be reviewed.
David Cameron sends formal letter to European Union and the two-year exit process commences.
The pound has recovered against the euro, but by just two cents.
It becomes clear that this will be a complicated and long drawn out process. The UK has two years to negotiate its exit so nothing will happen until then. The EU will not make the negotiation process easy. Spain has a new Coalition Government and leader.
Helping the Brits left in Spain is at the bottom of his list.
Hundreds of foreign owned estate agents in Spain have closed as demand from British buyers has dried up entirely and the UK is officially now in recession.
Talks are ongoing between the EU and the UK regarding the provision of healthcare. Pensioners living in Spain are worried they may not be able to afford private health cover, if a deal is not done.
The pound has slumped, can they afford to stay in Spain or should they return to the UK? Thousands have already made the decision to leave.
Brits living in Spain permanently now have to apply to Spain for a two-year residency visa. It is a complicated proceedure.
Spain will treat Brits living here in Spain for more than 183 days as Spanish tax residents. Anyone living in Spain for less time will pay more tax.
Inheritance tax allowances for non-tax resident Brits inheriting Spanish property are to be abolished.
More capital gains tax will be payable when non-Spanish tax residents sell their property, with increase likely to be at least 5%. That’s a lot of money.
New Spanish Government recognises important economic effects of Brits visiting, working and living in Spain. Promises to protect their interests.
But can they be trusted?
Healthcare deal agreed. Brits living in Europe can access healthcare, but again it means a lot of form filling. British Pensioners living in Spain breathe a sigh of relief.
UK still in recession, even though the pound has recovered slightly against the euro and stands at 1.13.
Lack of demand from Brits means property prices in Spain have not recovered as expected.
The UK has left the EU and the European Court of Justice. Brits living in Spain fear that Spain will take advantage of lack of protection from the European Court of Justice. After all it was the EU Commission, not Britain, who took Spain to the ECJ for discriminating against foreigners for inheritance tax, capital gains tax and non residents income tax. Who will protect them now? David Cameron resigns and is replaced by a new leader. Who?
Lawyers receive unprecedented number of calls to assist with new Spanish wills to mitigate inheritance tax, assistance with new Spanish visa application process and clients seeking litigation advice to enforce contracts.
Clients sell their property in order to pay inheritance tax.
The days of the British diaspora in Spain being the biggest and one of the healthiest in the world are well and truly over.