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Brussels 1V (New EU Regulations on Succession) Problems

Even before the Eu regulation comes into force on midnight 16 August 2015, we are being notified of problems encountered by many expats who are trying to comply and draft new wills.

The new regulations had been studied? and drafted to facilitate the easy application of cross border succession. This due to the complexities to date with so many EU countries with differing laws. Whilst most who have published on this appear to be happy at the news and sure that expat wills would not be executed under Spanish law, we at CAB where asking members to wait until we could clarify our many doubts. Our small team of advisers were not convinced by some of the 84 articles.

It can be difficult to try to advise our community who rightly think that if a law has been put in place, then this would be protection enough. We thought that this may not be the case. We have not wanted to alarm expats as the hullabaloo over the new regulations has informed the notaries that maybe and for umpteen years, they were not complying with Spanish law when dealing with many cases of acceptance of inheritance. Some notaries and registrars in the past actually refused to honour the wishes of many non Spanish and executed wills under Spanish law. For those with all assets in Spain alone and according the the Spanish Civil Code, the notaries/registrars had every right to do so. This directive should now avoid that happening.

Where is all this leading to? Now as stated above when the expats are keen to add the clause asking that their wills be exercised under English/Welsh law, Scottish law, Northern Ireland law and laws from other EU and non EU countries. Also there is the choice to add; the law of nationality, are finding that many notaries are unaware of the new rules and one notary only today has even refused to add the clause to a new will for two of our members.

Again I ask members to be patient whilst we continue investigating and talking with our lawyers and hopefully a professor of international law at one of Spain’s top universities.

In the meantime, please read my first article on this subject published on the 29/10/14 by visiting this LINK

Any questions for the groups experts, should be posted here.

UPDATE 10/06/15. After discussion with the groups lawyers this morning, I can now publish that from after midnight 16 so 17th of August 2015. All wills with the clause added that you wish your succession to be governed by the law of your nationality.

Notaries who are refusing to include the clause, are ill informed. Solicitors as I was told by telephone today, that are saying that it is a waste of time adding the clause or that the clause will be ignored are also not knowledgeable about the new EU regulations.

Update 05/06/2015

Though received reassurances by lawyers and a professor of international law at one of Spain’s top universities, we have to consider that as with all new laws and regulations, there may be teething problems. Lawyers, notaries and registers will of course look for loopholes. The law draftsmen/women from the EU will study the implementation of the regulations and its workings in 2025. A case of wait and see what if any problems may arise.

Please contact myra@citizensadvice.org.es

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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