Renouncing to inherit

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Is receiving an inheritance best for me?

Can you refuse to accept an inheritance? If so, who would inherit my part?

Depending on what the last Will and Testament of the deceased states; and the applicable law of the inheritance, the property and assets could be distributed among the other heirs or they could be divided among the children of the person who renounced the inheritance. They, like the person who renounced the inheritance, are also entitled to reject the inheritance.

When should I renounce the right to inherit?

In Spain, you can do so in front of the Public Notary since the deceased’s property and debts will be inherited. There are cases when debts exceed the assets of the deceased. In this case could it could behove you to renounce the inheritance.

But beware; you could even accept the inheritance with the exception of the “benefit of inventory”. In this case, you would only inherit if the debts if they do not exceed the amount to be inherited.

How do you renounce an inheritance?

Following the advice of your lawyer, you can renounce an inheritance in front of a Public Notary.

Are there other cases where you may lose your inheritance?

There are cases that inheritance is difficult to deal with as a result of the debts of one of the co-heirs since the creditors will make things more difficult for all the beneficiaries. If there were many debts, you might not be able to inherit anything.

You also may lose your inheritance if the deceased Will was improperly drawn up or the Will was not clearly in your favour.

Things you should take into account before accepting or renouncing an inheritance:

  • Before accepting or renouncing an inheritance, you should seek legal advice; talk to your lawyer so he could do all due diligence before you make a decision.
  • The consequences of the renouncing an inheritance are not always the same; it may not just affect you, it could affect any possible co-heirs; your lawyer will be able to advise you accordingly.
  • Do not carry out any acts on the property to be inherited that may be considered as acceptance of the inheritance.
  • As a result of the applicable law in Spain, renunciation of the inheritance can harm the other potential co-heirs inheritance should they intend to accept it.
  • Do not do anything until you are absolutely sure of your decision since the renunciation and acceptance of inheritance are irreversible when signed in front of a Public Notary.
  • It will always be easier for heirs, if the deceased has left his estate in order, with instructions to be followed, and there are no hidden debts.

How I can avoid these problems in the future for my heirs?

Yes, it is always advisable to seek legal advice before making your last Will and Testament (Spanish will or international Will), the correct organization of your property and assets will minimize any future problems; in addition, it is advisable to do a study to minimize inheritance taxes payable by the heirs (implication of residency of people involved). Your lawyer can help you with all these steps to protect the future of your loved ones.

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