Succession of UK asset when deceased died domiciled in Spain

I am dealing with an estate where the deceased died domiciled in Spain with a Spanish Will. The Spanish Will is limited to Spanish assets only and leaves Spanish assets to spouse. There is no UK Will and one UK Bank Account.

I’m not sure about how the UK Bank Account passes. I have considered the following options:

  1. To spouse under UK intestacy laws despite the deceased having died domiciled/habitually resident in Spain - on the basis that UK bank account is movable property so UK succession laws apply;

  2. To children under Spanish intestacy laws - on the basis that deceased died habitually resident in Spain and movable/immovable property is irrelevant, but the Spanish Will is limited to Spanish assets and so Spanish intestacy must apply; or

  3. To spouse under Spanish Will despite the Spanish Will being limited to Spanish assets.

Many thanks.

Laura Willis

I’ll take (2) please, Bob.

UK law applies the succession law of domicile to moveables. If the Spanish will doesn’t apply then Spanish intestacy rules must do. Don’t know if that necessarily means that the estate goes to the children.

NB. I suspect if you were to get technical in your PIL you might have to look to the EU Succession Directive (putting yourself in the position of the Spanish Court) but that would look to habitual residence i.e. Spain.

The children might consider a DoV (probably just to benefit their mother rather than IHT reasons).

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

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My understanding is that it only immovable assets which pass under the lex situs, so that my expectation is that the moveable assets situated outside of Spain would pass in accordance with the Spanish succession rules.

Paul Saunders