By Mark Roach

IN Spain it is the person inheriting the property who is taxed, whereas in the UK it is the estate.

This means that when a Spanish property owner dies, the surviving spouse and/or other beneficiaries will need to probate the estate in both Spain and the UK.

Here we look at two common misconceptions about property succession:

•    A Spanish will negates the problem. This is incorrect – a Spanish will can often complicate matters as it may conflict with an earlier will prepared in the UK. A Spanish will cannot be varied after death and therefore limits the options of the beneficiaries. If there is only a UK will, this can be varied to accommodate the inheritors’ wishes. The Spanish authorities only need a death certificate and letters of administration from the UK, translated, and notarised.

•    Double taxation treaties between Spain and the UK will help with the tax being reduced. While this is true in respect of identical taxes, inheritance tax is not subject to this rule. Unilateral relief is potentially available in the UK but is complicated to establish and may only allow a small percentage of the taxes paid in Spain to be offset against UK inheritance tax.

For more information contact Mark Roach at or visit

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