Huge differences between Spanish and English law do exist, but it’s the alien systems and procedures in Spain which tend to cause the biggest misunderstandings. The law in either country is often capable of producing the same or a very similar outcome; the key is understanding the mechanism required to produce the result you are looking for.
Spain is a signatory to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961. This means that an Apostille will normally be required in order to ensure that a UK document is recognised in Spain. We can assist with this.
Buying a House in Spain
Whether you are buying a property in Spain as a holiday home, an investment property or permanently relocating to Spain, finding an independent English-speaking Spanish property lawyer to protect your legal interests is essential. The procedure is very different to conveyancing in England and a Spanish Notary will need to be involved. We can assist from beginning to end.
Again the role of the Spanish Notary is often overlooked. We are able to issue or certify UK documents in Spanish which can save a great deal of time and expense.
Should you become involved in criminal proceedings in Spain, regardless of the type of case, it is vital that you contact a criminal solicitor at the earliest opportunity. It can take a very long time for a trial date to be set – even for minor offences – so it is essential that you are represented by a professional who understands the Spanish legal system with its complicated system of calculating penalties and fines. Be aware – convictions do not always disappear by passage of time. Being detained at the border whilst on a business trip can be highly embarrassing (yes that really did happen).
Spanish law differs from English law in many aspects of this area and we can provide you with a professional and efficient debt recovery service. In general, we offer debt recovery advice, and if necessary will take recovery and/or enforcement action against an individual or company.
The system is very different to the UK and employee rights are generally far better protected in Spain. We can also act for employees covering the full range of disputes. We are able to assist ex-pats working throughout Spain on employed, self-employed or retainer agreements.
We can assist with the following situations:
• Civil Partnerships
• Separation Agreements
• Child Maintenance
• Co-habitation Agreements
• Child Access Arrangements
• Financial Settlements
In addition to providing advice, we can negotiate agreements and settlements on your behalf, or if necessary, prepare your case for court in Spain.
Reclaiming an Overpayment of Spanish Inheritance Tax
Spanish IHT is almost a chapter in itself and varies between Spain’s autonomous regions. There are occasions where Spanish IHT has been overpaid, because the reliefs available were not correctly applied. Please let us know if you think this might apply to you.
Litigation involves bringing or defending a claim in court, or in general representing someone at court in all types of cases, including tax, administrative, etc. Co-operation between countries has increased dramatically and it is therefore possible to pursue a legal claim across borders in Europe. In general, a claim filed in Spain, or a judgment made by a Spanish court can be executed and enforced in the UK exactly as if was issued by a County Court in the UK.
If you live in the UK and have been notified of a case against you, you can sign a Power of Attorney before a Notary Public and we will be able to assist you in a way that could mean you can avoid going to Spain at any point of the process. It is important to note that some criminal cases do require the presence of the parties at court.
Mortgages in Spain
If you are looking to finance the purchase a property in Spain it’s possible to obtain a mortgage from a Spanish bank as a non-resident, but it is useful to know the three steps towards getting a mortgage in Spain: application, completion and registration – each stage requiring the services of a Notary Public who will draft deeds and deal with the Spanish Land Registry on your behalf.
NIE Numbers (also NIF numbers)
An NIE number is required if you intend to:
• Purchase a property in Spain
• Open a bank account in Spain
• Start a business
• Work in Spain
• Pay taxes in Spain
• Receive or disclaim an inheritance
• Reside in Spain
You will need to sign a Power of Attorney in order to apply for the NIE and we can help you through the entire process.
We can help with compensation claims for all types of accidents, negligence and, in general, compensation arising from injuries or damages for incidents which happen in Spain.
This is a brief list of the damages that can be claimed:
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of earnings and future earnings
• Medical costs
• Damage to property
• Injuries sustained
• Consequential surgery (on a private basis)
• Loss of pension benefits
• Cost of nursing care and domestic assistance (commercial or provided by family/friends)
• General expenses
• Loss of use of a vehicle
• Vehicle repair
Probate / Inheritance
Probate in the UK means the process of administering a deceased’s person’s estate. An executor or similar will generally be tasked with this.
The Spanish system is very different and does not recognise the concept of an executor. We offer a complete probate service relieving you of what can be an onerous task at a time when you have lost someone close to you.
We offer assistance with issues such as difficulty with tenants, disputes between spouses or divorced couples, inheritance disputes, off-plan property and timeshare disputes.
We can provide you with expert help along the way with all types of property transfer in Spain, including inheritance, separation, registration and ownership. We also deal with the payment of taxes, deed registration and Land Registry issues.
Residency in Spain
An application to become a resident in Spain should be submitted through the Consulate in the country you currently reside in. Those already in Spain with some sort of entry or tourist visa should go to a specialist cross-border solicitor to deal with the legal requirements. We are able to assist both private and corporate clients, with a comprehensive service to ensure a residency application is processed promptly and efficiently.
Selling Property in Spain
When selling a property in Spain you need to be aware that the procedure is very similar to buying a home. It is vital, therefore, to engage the services of a cross-border legal specialist. We can assist you through the selling process including title deeds, local property taxes, details of the community statutes and Land Registry matters.
Taxation – non residents
We can assist non-resident and ex-pat clients with all manner of advice on taxation issues in Spain, including tax identification numbers (NIFs), non-resident income tax, local property tax, and capital gains tax.
Timeshare and holiday club contracts have gained a rather bad reputation for a number of reasons in recent years. It is important to know exactly which sort of scheme you are entering into and to understand your rights and liabilities to avoid legal issues later on. We can help with timeshare disputes such as maintenance, administration or management fees, and repurchasing issues.
Spanish Wills Powers of Attorney and lifetime gifts
Dealing with cross-border wills and estates can be complex and the laws that relate to you depend on your own specific circumstances. The laws in relation to wills and inheritance in Spain can be very different to those in the jurisdiction of England and Wales so it is important that you seek the advice of a cross-border legal specialist in relation to your wills and inheritance matters, including inheritance tax and estate administration. It comes as a surprise to many British people that Gift Tax can sometimes be payable in Spain by the recipient of the gift (donacion).