Last Will Act Certificate in Spain

What is the Certificate of Last Will?

You should know that the so-called Last Will Act Certificate (Certificado de Ultima Voluntad in Spanish) is an essential document in any succession.

Through this Certificate of Last Wills you will be able to know if the deceased person has made a will or not. Knowledge of this fact is necessary to initiate the processing of an inheritance.

Why is it necessary to request the Certificate of Last Will Acts?

It is possible that the relatives of a deceased know that he made a will and the notary where he did it, and they may even have in their possession a simple copy of it.

However, these data are not sufficient to initiate the inheritance proceedings because the deceased may have executed a later will without his relatives having knowledge of it. The valid will, will be the last and this fact can only be known through the Certificate of Last Wills.

Even in the event that the heirs know with certainty that the deceased did not make a will, it is necessary to request the Certificate of Last Will.

Ultimately, the first procedure after the death of a relative is to request the Certificate of Last Wills Acts.

When can you request the Certificate of Last Wills?

The request will be submitted after 15 business days from the date of death. In this period, the day of death will not be counted, nor Saturdays, Sundays, nor holidays.
How can you request the Certificate of Last Wills?

The certificate request can be done in the following ways:

1) Application in person or by email

You must fill out and present an official model, Model 790, which you can obtain at:

  • The official website of the Ministry of Justice.
  • The Territorial Managements of the Ministry of Justice.
  • The Central Citizen Service Office in Madrid.

What documents do you have to accompany the application?

  • Literal Death Certificate: original or certified and which must necessarily include the name of the deceased’s parents. This certificate must be requested at the Civil Registry corresponding to the town in which the person has died.
  • Proof of payment of the fee. Payment may be made at any of the financial entities collaborating with the Tax Agency (practically all).

2) Request for an electronic certificate of acts of last will

Only if the death occurred after April 2, 2009 and the death is registered in a Civil Registry, not in a Justice of the Peace. If these requirements are met and you have a digital certificate, you can process the application at the Electronic Headquarters of the Ministry of Justice.

Otherwise, you must submit the application in person or by mail.
In what period is the Certificate of Last Wills issued?

The Certificate of Final Wills is issued within 10 days, if requested by post, from receipt of the request.

However, the term is reduced by half, 5 days, if you request it electronically.

Who can request it?

Anyone who presents the required documentation, whether done by mail or in person. In the case of electronic application, anyone who has the necessary death information.

What information will you receive in the Last Wills certificate?

If the deceased has executed a will, the wills that have been granted and the name of the authorizing Notaries will appear. The last of the wills granted will be valid.

If the deceased has not granted a will, it will be stated: No Testament.

Certificate of insurance contracts for coverage of the deceased. In the same official application form for the certificate of last wills, you can request a certificate of insurance contracts for coverage of death. Through this certificate it is known if the deceased had contracted any life or accident insurance.

What should you do once you obtain the certificate?

If the deceased has executed a will, you must request a copy of the last will granted at the corresponding Notary’s Office.

If there is no testament, you will have to process an intestate Declaration of Heirs file. In the Declaration of Heirs, authorized by a Notary Public, the heirs of the deceased will be named.

Once the will is obtained or, where appropriate, the Declaration of Abintestate Heirs has been issued, you must proceed to the acceptance and partition of the inheritance.