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FAQs about legal issues

Q: If I have a will that was drawn up in my home country, does it also cover my property and my assets in Spain or Portugal?

A: Yes it does. However, for it to be valid, it must be translated, registered, etc., which can be expensive and time consuming. There are also ‘forced heirship’ laws in Spain, which may affect to whom you can leave your property. Legislation on cross-border property inheritance matters came into effect in August 2015, which has gone some way to improving the situation by granting property owners the right to bequeath under the law of their country of nationality or “habitual residence.” To be entirely clear and to spare your surviving relatives a lot of difficulties, it is best to have a lawyer in Spain or Portugal prepare a supplementary will for you.


Q: How much can I borrow?

A: There is no legally stipulated loan ceiling. Mortgages of 60–80% of the property value are most common, depending on the bank chosen.


Q: I will be moving to Spain or Portugal with my spouse. What happens if we later divorce?

A: Once you have lived in a different country for two years, you are subject to the laws of that country if you divorce. So it is important to talk to a legal specialist to establish what rules apply under Spanish or Portuguese law and what position you would be in.


Q: Will I have to pay property tax in Spain?

A: Yes. You will have to pay a municipal property tax, which is calculated on the basis of the assessed value. The tax rate varies from one local authority to another, and is typically charged at 0.4-1.1%. You will also have to pay a kind of state property tax. This is usually around 0.3-0.5% of the assessed value of the property.

In Portugal you pay an annual municipal property tax of a maximun 0,5% of the assessed value, depending of the county.

Q: How will I be taxed when I sell my property in Spain?

A: Capital gains are taxed in Spain at 21% and in Portugal 25%