Types of Wills in Spain: Common or Special

In this article, we analyse the different types of wills that the Spanish legal system regulates.  Among the various forms of making a will, we distinguish between:

Types of Wills in Spain

Common wills include these types:

  • The holographic will (regulated in Articles 688 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)
  • The open will (regulated in Articles 694 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)
  • The closed will (regulated in Articles 706 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)

Special wills include these types:

  • The military will (regulated in Articles 716 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)
  • The maritime will (regulated in Articles 722 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)
  • The will made in a foreign country (regulated in Articles 732 et seqq. of the Spanish Civil Code)

We address the main characteristics of the common wills, which Spanish law regulates.

  • Only persons over 18 years of age may create a holographic will
  • For a holographic will to be valid, the person creating it (the testator) must write it out in full and include the day, month, and year on which he or she creates the will
  • In addition, legalization of a holographic will before a judge is necessary.  The appropriate judge is the one of first instance of the last domicile of the person creating the will or of the place of the testator’s death.  In the latter case, legalization must occur within five years from the testator’s date of death.

On the other hand, an open will is valid when granted before a notary to whom the testator expresses his or her final intent orally or in writing.

The testator could sign an open will whenever he or she agrees to its content that the notary reads aloud or when the notary and a witness observe the testator’s manifestation of an inability to sign it.

Finally, a closed will, like the holographic will, must be in writing.  However, it must also contain a series of solemnities listed in Article 707 of the Spanish Civil Code.

Taking into account the strictness of will creation, incapacitated persons may not create them.

Considering the above, even though common wills in Spain have their similarities, a series of requirements are necessary for these wills to take effect.

This article is not considered as legal advice

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