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How To Distribute An Inheritance without a will

The will is the document through which a person decides how his assets will be distributed once he dies. However, although all legal experts in the field recommend doing so, not everyone draws it up and validates it before a notary. In these cases, how is the inheritance distributed without a will? A question that we are going to answer here.

How can you know that a person has not left a will?

It is the first step. There are many cases in which the rightful heirs have claimed the inheritance believing that the deceased had not drawn up a living will and later found out that they did. In this sense, to find out this fact, it is necessary to consult the General Registry of Acts of Last Will.

In fact, the work of the notary, beyond attesting to the testament of the subject in question, is to make known before said registry the name of the testator and the notary, as well as the date and place of granting. However, he will not specify any of the content, which only both will know. Therefore, when distributing an inheritance with a will, it is necessary to go to his office.
Leaving this aside since it is not the subject at hand, to find out if the deceased has left a will, he must request a Certificate of Last Will. He can do it in person at the Territorial Management of the Ministry of Justice that corresponds to him and through the Electronic Headquarters of the Ministry of Justice.

Now yes, how is the distribution of an inheritance carried out without a will?
You have just obtained the Certificate of Last Will and it specifies that the deceased did not leave a will. In this case, the right to receive the inheritance does not disappear as long as current legislation considers you as a legal heir of the deceased.
But who inherits if there is no will? The law establishes a succession order at the state level. It is true that some autonomous communities have practiced variations, but they are few and of little importance. The best example is Catalonia, which places the widow or widower on the second rung (not on the third, as we will see below).

The descendants of the deceased

We talked, of course, about the children. Each of them must receive the same amount as an inheritance. Also the grandchildren, in case he had any.
For example, if a deceased person leaves two children and two grandchildren and an inheritance worth €300,000, each of these children will receive €100,000, while the two grandchildren will share the remaining third (€50,000 each).
At this point we must talk about the distribution of inheritance without a will, widow and children. The reason is that the spouse of the deceased also has a part, although only as usufructuary. This will be the equivalent of a third improvement.

The ancestors of the deceased

It may be the case that a young person dies without a partner and without children. In that case, the legal heirs will be his parents. In fact, if only one of them survives, it will be the one that gets everything. In case they are not alive either, the right will pass to the grandparents.

For his part, it is possible that the deceased was married even if he did not have children. In this case, the widow or widower will have the right to enjoy the usufruct of half of the inheritance.

The widow or widower of the deceased

It is possible that the deceased did not have descendants or ascendants, that is, neither children nor parents or grandparents. In that case, it will be the spouse who will inherit all the assets. It must be said, in this sense, that the common-law partner is only equated to the spouse in matters of inheritance in certain autonomous communities. In many others, no.

the brothers of the deceased
In order for the siblings of the deceased to be the heirs without a will, the circumstance must be that the latter, while alive, left no children, his parents and grandparents had died and he did not have a husband or wife. In this case, the inheritance will be divided equally between them.

However, it may happen that one, several or all of the deceased’s siblings died before him. What happens in this case? Well, it will be the nephews who receive the inheritance.
Of course, the distribution will be made ‘by lineage’. By this we mean that the inheritance will be divided equally between the brothers and, later, the corresponding amount will be given to each nephew based on the number of his brothers.
For example, imagine two siblings who have passed away out of a total of four. The first had two children and the second four. Each of them, if they were alive, would receive €100,000 (just like the other two who did survive). In the first case, each of the two nephews would get €50,000. In the second, €25,000.

The deceased’s nephews

In the event that all the siblings of the deceased have died before him, the nephews will share the inheritance equally. That is to say, in this case, the formula of the strains that we mentioned above will not be applied.

Collateral relatives of the deceased up to the fourth degree of consanguinity
We are talking, specifically, about the uncles and/or cousins of the deceased. The distribution, at this point, would be done in the same way that is applied to the brothers.

The state
In the event that the legal heirs renounce the inheritance or, failing that, do not exist, the beneficiary of the deceased’s assets will be the State.

The deceased’s nephews
In the event that all the siblings of the deceased have died before him, the nephews will share the inheritance equally. That is to say, in this case, the formula of the strains that we mentioned above will not be applied.

Collateral relatives of the deceased up to the fourth degree of consanguinity
We are talking, specifically, about the uncles and/or cousins of the deceased. The distribution, at this point, would be done in the same way that is applied to the brothers.

The state
In the event that the legal heirs renounce the inheritance or, failing that, do not exist, the beneficiary of the deceased’s assets will be the State.

In short, we hope to have made clear what the inheritance procedures are without a will, how it is distributed and what the succession order is. Of course, we cannot finish without emphasizing the importance of preparing this document while still alive since, without a doubt, it makes things much easier.