How to Distribute an Inheritance without a Will

One should execute a last will and testament to save loved ones the stress and time of handling the distribution of assets after your death. Legal experts go so far as to recommend doing so even while in good health. But there are times when it is too late to do anything.


So what happens to someone’s estate when they don’t have a will? We’ll show you what the law says.

What do you have to do when you receive an inheritance from a relative?

When someone dies, they often leave an inheritance. This money can be given to a relative or friend. Whoever receives the inheritance has to follow a few steps to become the beneficiary of his or her possessions:


  1. Apply for a death certificate at the registry office.
  2. Request the certificate of the deceased’s last will and testament from the Ministry of Justice, where you can check whether or not there is a will.
  3. If so, ask a notary’s office for an authorised copy.
  4. Ask for the insurance certificate with death cover, which accredits the deceased as insured.
  5. If there is no will, you must apply to the notary or to the Court of First Instance for the declaration of heirs in the domicile that the deceased last occupied and where he had most of his patrimonial assets.

Can I choose whether or not to accept an inheritance?

If a deceased person has left you as heir to all his or her assets, you are not obliged to accept the inheritance if you do not want to. The law imposes no duty on an heir to accept an inheritance.


Inheritances can be complicated; there are many reasons why people may not want to accept money. For example, if you have been the beneficiary of an inheritance and you do not want to accept it because you know the debt status of the assets, you can choose to accept or reject the inheritance, however much they were your last wishes.


Inheritances can be a help, but they can also be a big problem. You can refuse if you have no idea of the deceased’s total estate, if you cannot afford the maintenance or if you do not want to accept the inheritance because you cannot afford it.

How is an inheritance without a will distributed?

If a person dies without a will, the law must intervene to determine how the deceased’s assets are to be distributed through an order of succession.

The children of the deceased

The children of the deceased should each receive an equal share of the estate. In addition, if there are grandchildren, then they should also receive an equal share of the estate.


The spouse of the deceased also has a share, but only as usufructuary.

The parents of the deceased

There are situations where a young person dies without leaving descendants. In this case, the parents become the legal heirs.


On the other hand, if the deceased was married, the widow or widower is entitled to enjoy the usufruct of half of the inheritance.

The deceased's widow or widower

In the event that the deceased had no descendants or ascendants, it is the spouse who will inherit all the assets.

The siblings of the deceased

The law states that the siblings of a deceased person can be recognised as heirs without a will if the deceased died without children and their parents and grandparents have also died. The inheritance will be divided equally between them.


If one, several or all of the deceased’s siblings died before the deceased, it is the nephews and nieces who will receive the inheritance divided by lineage.

The deceased's nephews and nieces

If all the deceased’s siblings have died before him, then his nephews and nieces will share the inheritance equally.

Other relatives of the deceased

Specifically the aunts, uncles or cousins of the deceased up to the fourth degree of consanguinity. The distribution would be made in the same way as for siblings.

The State

If the legal heirs reject the inheritance or, failing that, do not exist, the beneficiary of the deceased’s assets will be the State.

How do you know if an inheritance has debts?

The concept of inheritance is a difficult one. There are many factors to consider before deciding whether or not to accept an inheritance. One thing to bear in mind if you decide to accept an inheritance is that it may come with a debt that you will have to take care of.


Debts would not be your responsibility if you refuse to accept the inheritance. Before accepting an inheritance, make sure you know about the deceased’s assets.


You would benefit from the services of an experienced family lawyer who can help you determine the total assets, and decide whether or not it is worth your while to accept the inheritance.


The typical procedure for inheritance without a will is to distribute wealth equally among the heirs. It is important to make sure that this is done according to the law to avoid family conflicts. At Legal-boutique Ibiza we can help you. Contact us and we will help you to answer all your questions.