The Government of the Generalitat is finalizing a reform of the Civil Code of Catalunya so that testators have more legal facilities when it comes to being able to disinherit those children or grandchildren with whom they have a bad or no family relationship.

Inheritance can be a source of conflict and family confrontation: challenged wills, questioned legitimacy and conflicting brothers. And everything is aggravated when some of the children have been “neglected” due to different circumstances (mistreatment or abandonment) and demand from the heirs the legitimate part that corresponds to them.

The lack of a family relationship is a reason for disinheritance that was introduced in a modification of the 2009 law, and now, from the Department of Justice, a regulatory change is being promoted so that it is easier to respect the last wishes of the testator and to be able to disinherit descendants who psychologically mistreat their parents, abandon them or have no relationship at all.

A child is disinherited when he is deprived of the legitimate, that is, 25% of the inheritance, which is always divided among the children. The legitimate is a mandatory provision in favor of the heirs, but if circumstances such as psychological abuse or abandonment occur, the testator should have it easier to dispose of his assets, and if he deems it convenient, disinherit.

The amendment includes three fundamental changes:

  1. Abuse of a psychological nature will be expressly included as a cause of disinheritance, equating it to serious abuse of the testator, his or her spouse or partner, or their ascendants or descendants, which is already provided for by current law as a reason to deprive an heir of their rights in succession.

In “serious abuse” it is specified that of “serious psychological character” as cause of disinheritance.

  1. Second, it will be the disinherited person who must prove that he or she has been unjustly excluded from the legacy, that the cause that the testator alleges is not true; that is, the burden of proof is reversed.

Currently, on the other hand, if the disinherited contests the will, it is the heirs who have to prove the reasons for their exclusion, which is often complicated when it comes to cases of absence of a relationship or psychological abuse.

  1. The prescription term to claim the legitimate is shortened from 10 to 4 years. In addition, the claim of the widow fourth part (cuarta vidual) will also be equal to 4 years (currently it is 3 years).

Justice wants to approve these modifications at the end of 2022. Currently the draft law is pending the report of the Council of Economic and Social Work of Catalunya (CTESC).

At addwill, we are at your disposal if you wish to obtain further information and advice in this regard from our expert professionals from the civil department. You can leave your query by clicking here.