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How do we go about getting information on an inheritance in Spain?

Inheritance Law

Antonio Flores Vila

20th of February 2000

Q. My husbands father passed away 1/10/2000. He was informed there is a inheritance left to him, but we are unable to get any information. How do we go about getting this info, a copy of his death certificate and properties, wills, etc.

Janette Salgado
Hesperia, Calif.

    A. Your search appears as a lengthy and challenging task. Different steps you should follow are:

    • Draw up a list of possible assets he left in Spain (real estate, cars, bank accounts...)
    • Narrow the search to a particular area where he was living or where you think he may have left assets.
    • Do a search into the different land registries of the area.
    • Contact people in the vicinity to find out more.
    • Apply for a death certificate in the location where he died.
    • Apply to the central registry of wills for a copy of the last Spanish will (an "open will" signed before a Notary Public, since these wills are all registered in this administrative office).
    • If there is no available open will, try to look for a private one if you think he might have left one.

    If he is a US citizen, get a copy of the will and see what are the dispositions regarding overseas properties. If you cannot find a will, without being good news you can still proceed: You could file an intestacy procedure in a Spanish Court in order to have the assets transferred to the legitimate heirs. Obviously, assuming you can find assets.

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