The acceptance of the inheritance is an act of will by which the person who is called to accept the inheritance manifests his decision to take the quality of heir.
That is to say, the acceptance of the inheritance is the action by which the person that the will indicates as heir takes the decision to assume this position. There is no single way to accept the inheritance and it is subject to a time limit.
This act is done before a notary public and must be done in writing. Here it is worth noting the tacit acceptance of inheritance as an exception. This type of acceptance is deduced because the heir has executed some good when he would have the right to do so if he had accepted to be heir.
Requirements for the acceptance of the inheritance
The three essential requirements for a person to accept the inheritance are:
- The person from whom it is to be inherited has died. This means that the inheritance cannot be accepted until the death of the testator, no matter how much a person knows that he is going to be the universal heir of that succession. The succession will be opened with the declaration of death.
- The acceptance of the inheritance can only be made by the person who has been designated as heir in that inheritance and not by any other third person.
- The person who is going to accept the inheritance must have sufficient capacity. This means that he has full capacity to act.
This acceptance, in Spanish law, has a deadline to take possession. The term is set at 30 years from when the heir becomes aware of the death of the testator. But this period can be reduced if the person called to inherit already has some property left in inheritance.
Before the 30-year term expires, the heir may go to the notary to request the right to deliberate. This means that he requests the inventory and, once he has it, he will have to decide whether to accept or reject the inheritance.
In the event that the person called to inherit already owns all the hereditary assets, he has 30 days to go to the notary.
Inheritance Acceptance Classes
The inheritance acceptance classes are relevant to understand what implications it will have on the heir’s estate:
- Pure and simple acceptance: Whoever accepts the inheritance in this way is unlimitedly liable for the debts he inherits with his own assets. That is, the hereditary mass contains more debts than rights and it will be the assets of the heir that will respond for the payment of debts of the deceased. There is confusion of assets between the deceased and the heir.
- Acceptance for the benefit of inventory: In this case, the heir will only respond up to a limit on the debts that he inherits from the estate of the deceased. Thus, the heir only responds to the extent of the assets of the deceased. There is no confusion of estate between the deceased and the heir.
- Voluntary and free: There is an exception: if the call to inherit without accepting the inheritance subtracts some asset from the heritage that makes up the inheritance, he would be forced to accept the inheritance purely and simply.
- Irrevocable: cannot be appealed.
- Indivisible: either the entire inheritance is accepted or it is not accepted, a part cannot be accepted.
- Unconditional: The will of the heir to accept or reject any condition may not be submitted.
- Unilateral: It will only be the call to inherit who exercises this action of acceptance.
- Retroactive: the possession of the assets by the heir is understood from the moment of the death of the testator and not from the acceptance of the inheritance.