When a person dies, a painful and complicated process begins from several points of view, and one of them is to determine what happens to their inheritance.

It is at that moment, that of death, from which it is necessary to determine what happens to the assets, rights and obligations of which the deceased or testator was the owner and how and to whom these assets are going to be transferred. Therefore, what is called “hereditary succession” is opened.

That succession may be voluntary or legal, depending on whether it is regulated by the will of the deceased, by means of a will, or by Law, if the deceased did not make any will.

In the case of intestate succession, that is, when the deceased has not made a will, the succession will be governed by the legal provisions and in Catalonia, by what is established in Book IV of the Civil Code of Catalonia, articles 442.1 and following, in which it is established that the inheritance is first deferred to the deceased’s children in their own right and to their descendants by right of representation, without prejudice, if applicable, of the rights of the widowed spouse or the surviving partner in a stable relationship. The latter, if it concurs with the children of the deceased, has the right to lifetime usufruct of all the assets of the inheritance.

But getting to this point is not always easy and it is necessary to previously carry out a notarial document called Declaration of Ab-Intestate Heirs, in order to establish who are the legal heirs of the deceased who has not granted a will. For this, it will be necessary to go to the Notary and provide the necessary documentation in order to prove it (DNI of the deceased; death certificate, Last Wills certificate, Family Book or birth certificate…) and two witnesses who know the family of the deceased must also attend and have no interest in the estate. Once the Declaration of Heirs has been signed, it will be necessary to wait 20 working days before being able to accept the inheritance

From this, it can be verified that this procedure is not only more expensive, but much longer and cumbersome, not to mention that the deceased has not been able to leave his assets based on his will, as he could have done, simply, having made a will.

The will is a very personal, formal and solemn legal act, essentially revocable and “mortis causa” because it will produce effects only at the time of the deceased’s death. It is the act by which a person determines the fate of his/her assets and rights his/her death, but not only that, it can also contain any other provision that does not have a patrimonial nature such as the appointment of a guardian, recognition of a child, imposing conditions or substitutions, trusts…etc., in order to preserve the estate and leave it to certain people even after the death of the heir.

With the will, the testator can plan and order to whom all the assets of his inheritance go, assigning a percentage to each heir or establishing particular attributions to certain people, even without naming them heirs; In this case, we would find ourselves before the figure of the legacy, being able to establish that the legatee can take possession of the legacy conferred in the will on his own, without having to wait for it to be delivered by the appointed heir.

However, the testator will also not be able to freely dispose of all his assets because he must always preserve a part of his assets in favor of certain people. People who have this right are called legitimaries.

The legitimate in Catalonia is a credit right that is conferred on the descendants of the deceased or, in the absence of these, on their ascendants, the right to obtain in succession a patrimonial value corresponding to a quarter of the hereditary wealth.

The only way to avoid this obligation is to disinherit the heirs for one of the causes defined in article 451-17 of the Civil Code of Catalunya, but this is another matter.

Undoubtedly, granting a will is easy and carrying it out is advisable in order to preserve the estate of the deceased, thus fulfilling his will and also protect his family, avoiding future conflicts. If the conditions change, there is always the possibility of revoking it by granting a new one. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us. Addwill is at your disposal to be able to advise you and plan a good will that, without a doubt, will avoid many problems.