If you are going to receive an inheritance or you are thinking about writing a will, you have most likely asked yourself the following question: What is legitimacy of an inheritance?

Having this information is essential when you want to write a will. If you do not have this information, it is very likely that inconveniences will arise that will end up in family confrontations or even that the inheritance will be contested.

What is the “Legitimacy”?

Legitimacy is a portion of the inheritance that the law reserves for certain heirs, this is called “forced heirs.” These heirs are entitled to receive a portion of the deceased’s inheritance, regardless of what is provided for them in the will.

Who are the forced heirs? Generally, the forced heirs are:

– The children. If you have no children or if they are not alive, the right to inherit the estate is in descending order. That is to say, the grandchildren or great-grandchildren would become the heirs.

– In case that the inheritance cannot be given in descending order, the next heirs are the parents or ascendants of the deceased.

– Widows and widowers are also considered forced heirs, although only in the usufruct.

How to Calculate the “Legitimacy”

The calculation of the reserved portion is a complex process that may vary according to the legislation of each country, but in general, it is based on two main factors: the deceased’s estate and the number of forced heirs.
In order to calculate the legitimate share, it is necessary to value the total assets and rights of the deceased up to the time of death. Then the outstanding debts must be subtracted to obtain a real value.

The percentage of the legitimate is the division in three parts of the assets that make up the inheritance that must be distributed equally among the forced heirs. In Spain, the “legítima” is established as a percentage of the deceased’s estate, which varies according to the number of forced heirs and their relationship to the deceased.

For example, if the deceased has children, the legitimate will be 66.66% of the estate, while if the deceased has living parents, the legitimate will be 50% of the estate. In the case that he/she has no children or parents, nor other ascendant (grandparents, great-grandparents, …) or descendant (grandchildren, great-grandchildren, …) relatives, his/her reserved portion will be 100% of the estate and will be distributed among other forced relatives, such as siblings.

In general, the calculation of the reserved portion is based on the idea that forced heirs are entitled to receive a fair share of the deceased’s estate. This ensures that the heirs are protected and that they receive a fair share of the estate, even if the deceased has not made a will or has left a will that does not meet the legal standards.

If you have any doubts about the “legitimate” or about inheritances in general, it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure that your rights and those of your loved ones are protected. In GyV Asesores, we are specialized in carrying out this type of operations, so do not hesitate to contact us and we will accompany you throughout the process.
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