When deciding to live in Spain, it is vital that you appreciate that the law and procedures are very different to that in the UK. Never knowing the right questions to ask, it is quite easy to get yourself into a pickle. Ignoring the rules can and does provoke fines which can be very heavy.
Sadly, there are many Expats who tend to live in a bubble and just get on with their lives and not taking any responsibility for the future. There is no financial help in Spain and we really are on our own.
Understanding aspects of the law that affect our lives in Spain, is critical, especially when there are so many changes that take place, depending upon your status in Spain. It can be as simple as obtaining an NIE number, registering on the Padron at the townhall, applying for Residencia, or setting up your own business or becoming self-employed.
Tax Returns in Spain?
One question to mention here, is did you realize that one of the laws in Spain is to submit a tax return every year? If this procedure is not carried out, then your Residencia could be invalid and heavy fines imposed on you, as you need to be a fiscal resident in Spain to be a full resident. At approximately only €60 per year, it is so important to do, even if you discover you are not eligible to pay tax. I do feel that this is even more important with regard to Brexit.
Do I need a Will in Spain?
On speaking to our lawyers, I was very concerned to hear that there are many living here who have no wills. This is total madness as it leaves your loved ones and your estate in great jeopardy and very vulnerable. For example, Spanish law favours the eldest son and also, unless you are a blood relative or legal partner, it could turn into a nightmare, and a very costly one at that. It is no good just protecting your family on a day to day basis, without considering the future.
Bespoke Life Insurance
At the same time, accidents and serious illness do happen and if you are aware that your family would struggle to cover the funeral and inheritance tax, then please consider a Bespoke Life Insurance or funeral plan, or both.
With regard to inheritance tax, this is another minefield which you need to be able to discuss with a professional. As you can see from this small amount of information, there is a lot to consider and the only way to start it off, is by having a meeting with a lawyer.
Understanding aspects of the law that affect our lives in Spain, is critical, especially when there are so many changes that take place, depending upon your status in Spain.
One thing that is certain, is that there is an enormous choice of lawyers, accountants and other professional bodies that advertise their services in the media, the secret is to find the best, and when it comes to conveyancing, you definitely need an independent lawyer who is detached from any property you may be purchasing.
One tip of advice here is to select your lawyer before you even start looking for a property. Jennifer has used her vast experience of both living and working in Spain for a long time, to bring together a group of lawyers that will look after all your interests, with great professionalism and honest sound advice.