In recent days, the press has revealed the significant increase in inheritance renunciations in Spain. As usual in this blog, we will try to give a practical vision of the matter, for which we will have to refer to what the process of acquiring an inheritance is.
When a person dies, their heritage is not lost, but is transferred to others, called heirs, and as a consequence of the acceptance of the inheritance they come to acquire all their assets, rights and obligations left by that person at their death.
The heirs of a person will be those that the person has designated in a will, or in the absence of a will, the closest relatives determined by law, and who will be the subject of a well-notarized declaration, according to the degree of kinship they have with the deceased person.
TO BE HEIR YOU MUST ACCEPT
However, the fact of being named heir by a person or of being so by designation of the law, does not make this person the heir of another, since an act of acceptance of the inheritance is required, which can be express or tacit, in the same way that inheritance can be waived.
acceptance of inheritance is express when the call to an inheritance manifests it in a public or private document, and it is tacit, when his action results in his desire to acquire the status of heir.
If it is convenient to draw attention to the fact that tacit acceptance is really very easy to occur, therefore, when in doubt that there are debts in the inheritance, it would be convenient not to take possession of the hereditary assets.
The repudiation of the inheritance, unlike the acceptance, is an express act since it needs to be carried out before a notary (article 1008 CC).
Both the acceptance and the repudiation of the inheritance have the characteristics of being acts:
A.- volunteers (no one can force me to accept or repudiate),
B.-indivisible (refers to the entire inheritance),
C.- irrevocable (once they have been made, we cannot go back) and retroactive (its effects begin from the day of the death of the deceased)).
FROM AND UNTIL WHEN CAN I ACCEPT THE INHERITANCE
The acceptance and repudiation of the inheritance can be carried out from the moment in which it is known that the calling as an heir exists, that is, when we know what the content of a person's last will is or when we are aware that there was no will and we are one of the relatives called by law to the inheritance.
The acceptance and repudiation of the inheritance can hardly be carried out before fifteen working days following the death of a person, which is the essential waiting period to obtain the certificate of last will.
The right to accept and repudiate the inheritance is not subject to a term, it can always be done. For more information on inheritance terms, I refer to this entrance from my blog.
And in those cases in which a person does not state whether he accepts or repudiates, any person who has an interest in that acceptance or repudiation could request a NOTARY to express himself in one way or another, under the consequence that if nothing is said, silence will be considered as pure and simple acceptance of the inheritance (article 1005 CC).
ACCEPTANCE PURE AND SIMPLE OR FOR THE BENEFIT OF INVENTORY
The consequences of the acceptance of the inheritance are different depending on whether it is carried out purely and simply or for the benefit of inventory.
As a consequence of the pure and simple acceptance of the inheritance, all the assets, rights and obligations of the deceased person are acquired and the heir is responsible for the debts and charges that he could have left not only with the assets of the inheritance but also with his own. own. In the event that there are several heirs, each one will be responsible for all the debts (article 1084 CC).
If, on the contrary, the inheritance is accepted for the benefit of inventory, the heir will not respond for the debts and charges of the inheritance with his own assets, but only with the assets of the inheritance.
It would be desirable, as happens in Catalan law, for the general rule to be acceptance for the benefit of inventory, so that the heirs can enjoy this benefit, even if they do not expressly state it, but unfortunately our succession law, It has a lot to do, modify and modernize.
THE REPUDICATION OF THE INHERITANCE
The repudiation of the inheritance means that the renouncing party will not be able to acquire any property from it, and all of it definitively, since as we have indicated before, it is an irrevocable act.
The part of the inheritance that is not acquired by the person who has renounced will go to other people, according to what the testator has determined in his will or in the event of his silence, to those people determined by law, by application of the mechanisms of the law of successions.
We cannot finish without making a call to the correct advice again before making any decision with inheritances in which we may be interested.