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How Probate Works in Spain: A Step-by-Step Guide


The Probate process, known as testamentary proceedings in Spain, is a legal procedure required to administer and distribute the assets of a deceased person according to their will. In this article, we will explore in detail how Probate works in Spain, the steps involved, and the necessary documentation. If you find yourself in the position of having to handle the Probate of a loved one in Spain, this guide will be of great help to you.

  1. Understanding the legal requirements: The first step is to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements related to Probate in Spain. This involves understanding the applicable legislation at both the national and regional levels that govern succession and inheritance procedures. It is important to consult with a specialized lawyer in inheritance law to obtain accurate and up-to-date guidance on the relevant laws.

  2. Obtain the death certificate: The next step is to obtain the death certificate of the deceased, issued by the corresponding civil registry. This document is essential to initiate the Probate process and must be submitted along with other legal documents.

  3. Locate and review the will: If the deceased left a will, it is necessary to locate and review it. The will is a legal document that states the deceased's instructions regarding the distribution of their assets. If no will is found, the rules of intestate succession under the current legislation will apply.

  4. Gather the necessary documentation: It is crucial to gather the necessary documentation to be presented to the notary or competent judge in the Probate process. This includes the death certificate, the will (if it exists), personal documentation of the deceased, such as ID or passport, and any other documents related to the deceased's assets and properties.

  5. Initiate the Probate process: Once all the required documentation has been gathered, an application must be filed with the notary or competent judge to initiate the Probate process. The notary or judge will review the documents and verify their authenticity. They may also require the presence of witnesses or the submission of additional evidence, as needed.

  6. Administration and distribution of assets: Once the Probate process has been approved, the administration and distribution of the deceased's assets will take place according to the provisions set forth in the will or, in the absence of a will, according to the rules of intestate succession. This involves the legal transfer of ownership of the assets to the designated heirs or legatees.


The Probate process in Spain is crucial to ensure proper administration and distribution of the assets of a deceased person. It is a complex legal procedure that requires the gathering of accurate documentation and compliance with applicable legal requirements. If you are facing this process, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a specialized lawyer in inheritance law to navigate and facilitate the process.

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