How to renounce or repudiate an inheritance according to Spanish Law
A person can always renounce or repudiate an inheritance. This can be done through an express and formal declaration rejecting the inheritance. The renunciation of an inheritance basically consists of the express and formal declaration of the will of the call to an inheritance of not being an heir and, therefore, of not acquiring the hereditary assets. Although in reality, we are faced with a will not to acquire since it has never been acquired so it would not be a waiver as such, as established in art. 1008 of the Civil Code, "the repudiation of the inheritance must be made before a Notary in a public instrument (a deed)."
According to the provisions of art. 1016 of the Civil Code (also CC), the one called as heir can repudiate "as long as the action to claim the inheritance does not expire." Therefore, there is no term to repudiate an inheritance as long as the action to claim it does not expire, and the statute of limitations for this action is thirty years, as determined by the Jurisprudence, considering that it is an action of real character (Art. 1963 CC).
We have to take into account articles 1004 and 1005 of the Civil Code, which do establish certain deadlines. On the one hand, the resignation cannot be exercised until nine days after the death of the deceased and, on the other hand, it is the Notary who will set a term not exceeding thirty days for the acceptance of the same.
1004 CC: "Until nine days after the death of the one whose inheritance is concerned, no action may be taken against the heir to accept or repudiate".
Art. 1005 CC: "Any interested party who proves their interest in the heir accepting or repudiating the inheritance may go to the Notary so that he can notify the call that he has a period of thirty calendar days to accept purely or simply, or for the benefit of inventory, or repudiate the Heritage. The Notary will also indicate that if she/he does not express his will within said period, the inheritance will be understood to be accepted purely and simply."
In addition, we must mention that there is also the judicial route. Any interested party for the heir to accept or repudiate, can initiate a voluntary jurisdiction file. In said file, the Judge designates the person called as heir for a period not exceeding thirty days, for her/him to accept or repudiate. After this period, the inheritance will be understood to be accepted in Spain, with the exception of Catalonia, which will understand it to be repudiated.