We analyze the legal tools to resolve the locked inheritance

The situations of locked inheritance between the heirs, as we are seeing in other areas, are complex to resolve and usually take a long time since economic and patrimonial interests are often mixed with personal relationships or grievances that have been latent up to that point. Normally, these conflicts are usually directly proportional to the number of heirs and the hereditary wealth to be distributed, but the truth is that there is also a high index of conflict in inheritances with few successors and little patrimony.

The casuistry that leads to a situation of lock between the heirs is by definition unlimited and its resolution unpredictable in time, with the aggravating factor that during said interim some of the beneficiaries is in an advantageous position because they have exclusive possession of certain assets , there is a risk of disappearance, deterioration or disability of the movable or immovable property of the hereditary assets or significant maintenance expenses are accrued that some heirs are not willing to pay.

In Spain, until the publication of Law 15/2015 of voluntary jurisdiction, in the absence of will or agreement between the heirs and legatees to liquidate and distribute the inheritance, the only way left to unblock the inheritance was to go to the Courts and initiate an interminable judicial procedure to obtain the adjudication and distribution of the assets of the inheritance. These matters, known in nineteenth-century legal jargon as “testamentary” were certainly feared for their onerousness, complexity and delay.

Well, the outlined law of voluntary jurisdiction, which has been one of the most important reforms that our Civil law has undergone in recent decades, allows us to avoid the tortuous judicial process by instituting an agile procedure before a notary for the appointment of a dative splitting accountant whose function is to formalize the inventory of all assets, rights and debts of the deceased, value them and award to each interested party what corresponds, according to the hereditary title.

To start this procedure, it will be necessary for the heirs and legatees who represent at least 50% of the hereditary assets to request it (art. 1057 of the Civil Code). Once the file has been initiated, the notary will summon the other interested parties and after that, the Notarial Association will be requested to appoint a dative party accountant according to his list of experts. Once the party accountant accepts the appointment, he must, within the granted term, formalize the corresponding partition notebook that will be incorporated into the deed in diligence authorized by the notary who, after notification to the heirs and legatees, will close the procedure and in Consequently, the inheritance will be distributed and awarded without further formalities.

In short, it is a good tool that the legislator has put in the hands of legal operators to unblock inheritances through a much quicker and easier procedure than the dreaded “testamentary”, which will undoubtedly result in significant savings of costs for the heirs and in turn will help to relieve the Courts of work.


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