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Legal formalities required when a person dies

Legal formalities required when a person dies

What are the steps to be taken when a person dies, who can take care of them, how much time do the family members have to take care of them, and how much time do they have to do them? In this article we will answer all these questions.
In 2020, a year in which many people died due to the coronavirus, the National Statistics Institute (INE) recorded more than 493,000 deaths. Between January and November 2021, some 398,000 deaths were recorded. Unfortunately, these last two years have been a hard blow for a large number of families in Spain. And, despite everything, bureaucracy is unforgiving.
When a person close to us, a relative or a friend dies, it is necessary to combine the pain of the loss with the legal formalities. It is necessary to prepare papers, fill out forms, request certificates… Therefore, in this article we summarize the steps to be taken when we lose a loved one.
1. Medical certificate of death
This is the document that certifies the day and date on which a person died. It must be signed by a doctor and is necessary for two subsequent procedures: registration in the Civil Registry and burial or cremation. When a person dies in a hospital, this certificate is done immediately.
2. Registration in the Civil Register: death certificate
In order for the death to be legally recognized, it is necessary to complete this procedure.
It is necessary to attach the medical certificate of death and to fill in some information in a form. Anyone who has knowledge of the death, from family members to neighbors, can carry out this procedure.
3. Certificate of Last Will and Testament
This is the document that proves if the deceased had a will and with which notary he/she made it. It is necessary to go with the death certificate from the Civil Registry and pay the corresponding fee (3.82 euros). Any interested party can request it, as long as at least 15 days have passed since the death.
This document is essential to start the inheritance process.
What if there is no will?
If there is no will, the declaration of heirs must be made. This is a procedure by which the persons who will have the right to inherit are indicated.
Any person who believes he/she is entitled to inherit can request this procedure to a notary. Generally, the death certificate, the ID card of the deceased, the family book, the certificate of last will and testament and two witnesses (who have no direct interest in the inheritance) are required.
4. Certificate of insurance contracts with death coverage.
What if the deceased had a life insurance or other policy that must take effect after death? What happens to the compensation if the beneficiary does not know it exists?
To avoid this possibility, it is important to go to the Registry of Insurance Contracts with Death Coverage and check if the deceased had any policies in his or her name. The requirements and deadlines are the same as for the certificate of last will and testament.
5. Discharge from Social Security
The Social Security must be notified within 30 days of the death.
6. Partition of the inheritance
To initiate this procedure, all the heirs must accept the inheritance or renounce it. In principle, there is no established time limit for deciding whether or not to accept the inheritance in order for the division to begin. However, a person who has an interest in an heir making a decision can go to the notary to establish a maximum limit of 30 days. If, after that time, the heir has not decided what to do, it will be understood that he/she accepts the inheritance.
If all accept, the process of partition begins. When there is no will, the heirs must agree together on the distribution of the assets.
7. Settlement of taxes
Six months are established to pay the inheritance tax and the municipal capital gains tax (in case a property is inherited).
How to simplify the bureaucracy when a person dies
Those who have death or life insurance policies do not need to go through several of these procedures when someone close to them dies. These policies, among other benefits, usually include administration and processing of legal documents. Therefore, if the deceased had one of these products, the bureaucracy is greatly simplified. In such a situation, it is more convenient to have a professional to help you deal with the administration.

Life or death insurance?
Funeral insurance takes care of handling the formalities and covering the expenses related to the death. Life insurance is more complete, since it can include everything that a funeral insurance policy offers (burial expenses, for example) and, in addition, it offers other coverage. With life insurance policies, the beneficiaries also receive the financial compensation fixed in the contract, as well as other possible additional services: second medical opinion, 24-hour medical assistance…
Do you want to know more about simplifying the necessary bureaucracy when a person dies? Consult our advisors to help you choose a life insurance policy that includes just what you need. For much less than you think you can get the peace of mind your family deserves, ask our experts and you will be surprised!

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