The role of the executor in the inheritance process in Spain

In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of the executor, which is regulated in Article 892 of the Spanish Civil Code (Cc) and appears regularly in inheritance procedures in Spain.

What is an Executor?

The Cc does not define an executor specifically. Therefore, to obtain an approximate idea, we will use the definition given by the Royal Academy of the Spanish language which defines an executor as a person charged by the testator or by the judge to fulfil the last will of the deceased, taking custody of his assets and giving them the corresponding destination according to the will.

To avoid confusion, we must remember that the testator is the individual who drafts the will e.g. the deceased.

The position of the executor is a voluntary one. Once six days have gone by since he is made aware of his naming as executor and no refusal is given, the position is considered accepted. Once the position is accepted, this person must complete it. However, he may renounce the position for a just cause and is qualified as such by a competent judge.

The testator may name one or more executors to take charge of complying with his last will. However, to be an executor, one must remember that he must have the legal capacity to bind himself, so underage individuals cannot be executors, even with express consent from their parents or guardians.

If the testator names more than one executor, they can be named to carry out their position jointly, successively or severally.

Types of executors

Joint executors

they can only carry out their charge jointly or together. One of them can take charge with the legal consent of the others. In the case of discrepancies, decisions are made by a majority of the testators.

Severally executors

Any act carried out by any of them is perfectly valid unless one of them is expressly opposed to it.

Successive executors

This occurs when one of the nominated executors does not accept the responsibility or his nomination expires and the next executor is named.

If the testator does not expressly establish that the execution must be carried out severally, it will be understood that it shall be done jointly in virtue of Art.897 of the Cc.

The role of the executor is very relevant in inheritance proceedings in Spain when they are expressly named. The bestowed powers are determined by the testator, as long as they are not contrary to the law or public order.

If the powers are not expressly determined by the testator, they will be those mentioned in Article 902 of the Civil Code.

For additional information regarding inheritances in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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