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What happens if an inheritance in Spain is rejected

Firmalex > Inheritance in Spain > What happens if an inheritance in Spain is rejected

Although receiving an inheritance can be a very positive thing, in other cases it is not so positive. In these cases it might be a better idea to reject it, but… is this possible?

Is it possible to reject an inheritance?

Yes, it is possible to reject an inheritance. It can be done by one of the heirs or all of them.

Rejecting or renouncing an inheritance is the act by which the heirs called to the succession declare that they refuse both the debts and the assets that they were going to receive.

You have to renounce the inheritance within a maximum period of 6 months, which is the moment in which you have to pay the Inheritance and Gift Tax.

Features of inheritance rejection

The general characteristics of rejecting an inheritance are:

  • Unilateral. The heir makes a declaration of will without it being necessary for anyone to accept or give their consent.
  • Impersonal. Both acceptance and rejection can be carried out by a representative, in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code.
  • Irrevocable. Once the inheritance is rejected, it is not possible to accept it or vice versa.
  • Indivisible and unconditional. Part of the inheritance cannot be rejected or do so with conditions. It is either accepted or completely rejected.
  • Volunteer. Both acceptance and rejection are free and voluntary, this being an essential characteristic.

What happens if all the heirs reject the inheritance?

Although it is not common for all heirs to reject the inheritance, it can happen. And, above all, in the case of inheritances with a large amount of assets or money, this doubt can be important.

First of all, when inheriting, you must follow the line established by the Civil Code. It regulates the order of inheritance:

  1. Children and direct descendants.
  2. Parents and ancestors.
  3. Spouse and other relatives.

If the first to receive the inheritance reject it, it will pass to the next line of succession. In the event that none of the relatives is willing to keep the assets and debts, it will be the State that becomes the owner of everything.

Main consequences of the rejection of the inheritance

Before making the decision to renounce the inheritance, it is important to be clear about the consequences:

  • Irrevocable. The resignation is made in writing and, once made, it cannot be reversed. Therefore, you cannot change your mind after renouncing the inheritance.
  • Increases the share of the rest of the heirs. The rejected assets become the rights of the rest of the heirs, just as if the heir who had rejected the inheritance had never existed. There is an exception and that is that the deceased has left something different in the will.
  • Tax exempt. If it is waived correctly, it will not be necessary to pay inheritance tax. On the other hand, if it is delivered or left for another person, it will be understood as a donation and the payment of the corresponding tribute will be necessary.
  • This will be the case as long as it is renounced before the tax payment is due, which is six months after the death of the deceased.
  • Even if it is done by a descendant, it is effective. The right of representation in relation to the children is not possible, so they cannot put themselves in the place of the heir.
  • There is no waiver if there is fraud. If an heir hid or stole some assets from the inheritance, he will no longer be able to reject it. This is so because the use of the assets or rights of the inheritance are understood as an acceptance of the same.
  • On the other hand, if you hide the existence of the inheritance from creditors, they may ask the judge to accept the inheritance on their behalf.
  • Rejecting is not the same as accepting for the benefit of inventory. Rejection implies not obtaining either the assets or the debts that exist in the inheritance. However, by accepting for the benefit of inventory, it is possible to cancel the debts with a part of the assets and keep the rest of the available assets.
  • Rejecting the inheritance can be a great option for the future. Especially if there are uncertain debts that may arise later, such as debts with the bank or solidarity debts.
  • Debt enforceability. The creditors can require the heirs to pay the obligations they had pending. In the same way it happens when the deceased had guaranteed the assets of another person. Both obligations do not expire upon death, so they can pass to the heirs in the event that the principal obligated is not paid.
  • To solve it, it will be necessary to reject the inheritance or accept it for the benefit of inventory.

If, once all the effects and consequences of rejecting an inheritance are known, you want to renounce it, you can do so by following the necessary procedure for it. It is possible to reject an inheritance by one or all of the heirs. This rejection is unilateral, irrevocable, impersonal, indivisible and voluntary. In the event that it is carried out by all the heirs, it will be the state that will own the assets and debts of the inheritance. In addition, this rejection has other important consequences.

Further information

This article is part of our service Inheritance in Spain. Visit this section where you will find all the useful information on this topic, including a complete guide on Inheritance in Spain with a non-resident, expat or foreigner.

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