The EU Succession Regulations Nº 650/212
16 Mar. 2015
European inheritance regulation 650/2012 -also known as Brussels IV- aimed to remove obstacles and to allow freedom of movement of people across Europe will be applicable as of August 17 2015.
This new regulation states that Inheritance Law of the country in which the testator was habitually resident by the time of death will apply instead of the law of the country of the nationality of the deceased, unless it can be proven a closer connection with another country.
In Spain, the testator cannot dispose freely of his total estate as he must compulsorily leave 2/3 to descendants and spouses. In UK, -as an example-, Inheritance law allows the free disposal of all assets. Therefore, it could happen that an UK citizen who lives in Spain and has made a Will leaving his/her share of the Spanish property to his spouse cannot execute the Will, because his/her sons have a compulsory right on the property according to Spanish Law.
Nevertheless, this new regulation allows choosing which Inheritance Law should be applied at the time of death, by expressly specifying the choice in writing beforehand. Thus, if you are resident in Spain but you do not want the Spanish Inheritance Law to apply, you must check your actual Wills or make one if you have none.
This new regulation also states that the courts of the Member Country where the deceased was resident at the time of death has jurisdiction to rule on the entire estate, unless the heirs agree otherwise.
Finally, this new regulation also refers to the new European Inheritance Certificate that constitutes a valid registration on succession in all Member States.