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What is a will?

It is a document in which a person sets forth his or her intentions with regard to who inherits their property at their death.

To prevent future problems it is helpful to seek the advice of an attorney regarding the most appropriate type of will to make and its content, in addition to the issues described below, as applicable to each individual case.

:: Types of wills:

  • The holographic will
    This is a handwritten will, written by the testator.

  • The open will
    Unlike a sealed will, the open will is signed in the presence of a Notary Public, who then keeps a copy of the original document, thus eliminating the risk of its destruction or loss.

  • 2 witnesses are required to intervene if the testator:
    - Does not know how to or cannot sign the will;
    - Is blind;
    - Does not know how to or cannot read the will for him/herself;
    - Whenever the Notary so requests.

  • The sealed will
    In this type of will, the testator does not reveal his/her last will, but rather states that such desire is contained within a sealed “document” which he/she submits to the Notary.

    It may be written:
    - By hand: The testator must sign the document at the end.
    - Typewritten or written by a third party: The testator must sign each sheet of the document. If he/she cannot personally sign it, he/she must indicate the reason and identify the person that he/she wishes to sign it on his/her behalf.

    A sealed will cannot be made by a person who is blind or who cannot read, for whatever reason.

  • The military testament
    In situations of war, any soldier or staff member in the service of the army may make a will in the presence of an officer with a minimum rank of Captain, the chaplain or the doctor treating him/her if he/she is ill.

  • The maritime testament
    This is an open or sealed will that is made while at sea by anyone on board the vessel.

  • The will made abroad
    Spanish citizens can make their wills outside Spain in line with the regulations that apply in the country in which such will is signed. Such testaments may be holographic, open or sealed, without the joint testament being valid in Spain.

They may also make a will in the presence of any Spanish diplomat who may be performing notarial duties abroad.

REVOCATION OF THE TESTAMENT: The final testament revokes all previous wills or testaments.
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