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Difference between Spanish and Swedish Wills

One succession in ten opened in the European Union has an international element and this proportion is increasing all the time. In Spain, due to its attractive climate and living conditions, this proportion is even greater, which makes an adequate understanding of foreign legal systems a must, should a foreign client wish to make a Spanish Last Will and Testament.

For this reason, foreign property owners will be interested in seeing a brief comparison of the Spanish inheritance regulation as compared with their own and in this article we will be giving some basic indications about Swedish inheritance rules.

Sweden´s inheritance system is rather unique, in that it incorporates aspects typical of those legal systems known as “common-law” or “Anglo-Saxon”, along with elements more typical of Latin and Germanic legal systems.

A good example of the common-law inclinations of the Swedish system is the lack of a Central Registry of Last Wills. Unlike in Spain, where this Registry is located in Madrid and allows testators and their beneficiaries to easily and effectively consult their Wills, Swedish Wills are normally kept by the testator themselves or kept in the power of a Court or Notary. Two witnesses are also necessary.

However, Swedish Law, like its Spanish equivalent, establishes a reserve (or “legítima”), restricting, therefore, the liberty of the testator. While the Spanish reserve is fo two thirds in favour of the children, Swedish Law establishes a reserve of one half in favour of the children and the spouse (or registered life-partner).

In addition to the previous points, it is very important for Swedes to know that, in order for a Swedish Will to be enforced in Spain, a “Family Statement” (or Declaración de Familia) must be obtained from the Tax Office, via its Civil Registry Section. This is a document which states who the beneficiaries and family members of the deceased are. A death certificate will also be necessary, along with sworn translations of the previous documents into the Spanish language and what is known as a “legalization” or “apostille”.

Swedish Law can be enforced in Spain

Under the Hague Convention, Swedish Wills may be enforced in Spain. However, as can be seen from the previous paragraphs, this is a costly and time-consuming process, involving cross-border concerns. It is for this reason that Lexland Lawyers suggests that Swedes make a separate Spanish Will for their assets, avoiding costly bureaucratic processes. Get in touch with us now to find out more ifnormation about Wills in Spain.