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At Banco Santander our team of probate experts is on hand to offer you advice and support in completing a probate process for someone who has passed.

As part of the probate process, we locate all the banking products of the deceased, such as accounts, deposits, cards, insurance and pension plans, so that we can then liquidate them and distribute them among his or her heirs.

If you have to contend with a probate process, be sure to download our Practical guide to probate for heirs and beneficiaries. There you will find all the information you need on the documentation and steps to follow in seeing the process through to completion.

Meanwhile, our Inheritance Advice Service is on hand Monday to Friday, from 08.00 to 19.00, on the free telephone number 900 10 49 28. Speak to our team of specialists in probate and inheritance, who will be happy to resolve any legal doubts that may arise along the way.

Whether or not you are a Banco Santander customer, you can obtain all the information you need at any of our branches.

Steps to follow

1. Notify the death and request the certificate of positions held at the bank (certificado de posiciones) and insurance information notes (notas informativas de seguros)

Step one, for anybody having to deal with a probate, is to inform the Bank of the death and to request the certificate of positions held at the Bank (certificado de posiciones). We issue document to confirm the ownership of all products that the deceased held at our bank and all related balances. This certificate is necessary for payment of inheritance and gift tax.

If you are a customer you can request this certificate from your Online Banking or from your office. If you are not a client you can request an appointment at one of our offices.

Together with this document, the Bank will also deliver an information note on the insurance products that the deceased had arranged with us.

You will need the following documents to request a certificate of positions (certificado de posiciones):

  • Death Certificate (Certificado de Defunción)

  • This document certifies the death of a person. It is an informative document issued by the Civil Registry (Registro Civil).

    How do I request one?

    1. In person: by heading to the Civil Registry where the deceased was registered and presenting your ID card as the person applying for the certificate.
    2. By postal mail: by sending an email to the Civil Registry where the deceased was registered, clearly indicating the name and postal address to which the certificate is to be sent and stating the following information in your request:
    • Name, surname(s) and ID card number of the person requesting the certificate.
    • Name and surname(s) of the deceased and place and date of death.
    1. Online: through the official website of the Ministry of Justice and following the steps described there.
  • Certificate of Last Wishes (Certificado de Últimas Voluntades)

  • This is a mandatory document issued by the Ministry of Justice, accrediting whether a person has made a will and the notary before whom it was drawn up.

    When should I request it?

  • Once 15 business days have passed from the date of death by completing Form 790, which can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of Justice, or obtained at no cost from any Territorial Division of the Ministry of Justice, including also receipt of payment of the corresponding fee (which can be paid at any branch of Banco Santander) and a full death certificate (certificado literal de defunción) issued by the Civil Registry.

    How do I request one?

    1. In person: at the Central Citizen's Advice Office (Oficina Central de Atención al Ciudadano) if the request is being made within the Autonomous Community of Madrid, or at any Territorial Division of the Ministry of Justice for all other Autonomous Communities.
    2. By postal mail: by sending your request to the following address: Registro General de Actos de Última Voluntad, Ministerio de Justicia, Plaza Jacinto Benavente 3, 28012 Madrid.
    3. Online: through the official website of the Ministry of Justice and following the steps described there.
  • Will (Testamento), or Sworn Statement of Heirs (Acta de Notoriedad), or Family Book (Libro de Familia)

  • These documents represent the last wishes of the deceased, in which they give instructions on what should happen to their estate following their death.

    How do I request it?

  • The certificate of last wishes (certificado de últimas voluntades) states the date and notary before whom the will was signed. The heirs should go to the notary's office to request an authorised copy of the document. If the notary before whom the will was executed is deceased, or has retired or moved to another location, you can find the new notary who has taken custody of the previous notary's records on the website of the General Council of Notaries (Consejo General del Notariado). You can also obtain this information by visiting the Notaries Association (Colegio Notarial) of your Autonomous Community or by asking for it at any other notary's office.
  • Sworn Statement of Heirs (Acta de Notoriedad)

  • This is a notarial document that certifies who the heirs are in the event that the deceased has not made a will.
  • Where can I request the sworn statement of heirs (acta de notoriedad)?
  • Persons who consider themselves to be rightful heirs should head to a competent notary's office to obtain the declaration of heirs, known as an acta de notoriedad. Competent notary means any notary operating in the place where the deceased had his or her primary residence, or the place where the deceased held most of his or her estate, or the place where he or she died, or, alternatively, the notary of a notarial district adjoining any such location.Those who have been declared heirs by means of an acta de notoriedad must prove their entitlement by furnishing the final declaration of heirs (acta final de declaración de herederos) issued by the notary.
  • If the deceased did not make a will and until the acta de notoriedad is obtained, the spouse and children of the deceased (i.e. the forced heirs) may request the certificate of positions from the Bank by proving that no will exists and submitting the certificate of last wishes along with the family book.


Remember that if you are a Banco Santander customer, you have your Online Banking active and you have this documentation, click here to start the process.

For the rest of the steps, go to your office and follow the process.

2. Signing of forms

To complete the probate process, the party concerned will need to sign a number of forms supplied by the bank. In all cases, the party or parties concerned must fill in the form requesting the probate process. This document contains their contact information, their relationship to the deceased, and also the details of the deceased. You can download this document here.

If the deceased held pension plans, retirement plans or life/accident insurance, the party concerned will need to fill out a number of other forms:

You can also obtain these forms from any of our branches.

3. Delivery of documents

In addition to the above forms duly completed and signed, together with the death certificate (certificado de defunción), certificate of last wishes (certificado de últimas voluntades), and will or notarial statement of heirs of the deceased (acta notarial de declaración de herederos), the following documents must also be delivered:

  • Notarised deed of acceptance and division of property (or the private document signed by all the heirs with proper acknowledgement of their signatures by a national financial institution or an official body).
  • Payment of inheritance and donation tax by the beneficiaries of the positions held at the bank, accrediting either payment, exemption or expiry of this tax.
  • Identity documents of the heirs.

Additional documentation in specific cases: pension plans or insurance

If the deceased held a pension plan or insurance products at the bank, additional documents for completing the inheritance process will be needed. It will be necessary to submit a copy of the full family record book, and if the deceased was married at the time of death, an updated copy of the marriage certificate issued by the Civil Registry.

The beneficiaries of the pension plan and/or insurance products must also attach a photocopy of their tax number, and if they wish to collect pension plans or insurance in a bank account held at another bank, they must present an account ownership certificate.

In the case of pension plans, it is also necessary to provide a photocopy of the plan membership form signed by the membershowing the names of the beneficiaries and, only in special cases in which the party concerned is able to justify a lower personal income tax withholding (for example, in the case of a disability), then form 145 of tax withholdings notified to the payer.

For collecting on life, risk or accident insurance, the parties concerned must attach a medical report if the death came about due to a previously diagnosed disease or pathology, and a copy of any judicial proceedings, of the autopsy and of the toxicology report if the death was accidental.

4. Apportionment and collection

Once all the documentation provided has been verified, the deceased's banking products will be distributed and/or ownership changed accordingly among the heirs as indicated in the inheritance partition document, conforme a lo indicado en el documento de partición de la herencia. The amount of pension plans and benefits upon death provided for in life, savings and accident insurance shall also be paid to beneficiaries.

At this point of the inheritance process with Banco Santander, it should be noted that if the assets held by the deceased at the bank were awarded to the heirs undivided, and the heirs wish to receive their positions individually, they will need to sign a co-ownership cancellation document.

If the account balances have changed between the date of death and the time of distribution, the heirs must jointly sign a form containing instructions on how to distribute the existing balances.

If the balances held in bank accounts were awarded in usufruct and bare ownership, the heirs must sign another form awarding the balances in full ownership, since an award in usufruct and bare ownership is not possible for operational reasons at the bank.

Moreover, if the deceased's legacy contains securities and investment funds, the heirs will need to visit the bank branch to sign the relevant contracts. Shares may be transferred to a securities deposit held at another financial institution. If so, the corresponding certificate of account ownership must be submitted.

Finally, if the deceased held any loans or credit arrangements, the substitution of the holder must be accepted by Banco Santander and treated as subrogation of the borrower at any of the bank's branches.

Do you have doubts?

We put at your disposal our Heir Orientation Service. Call us at

900.10.49.28

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday (except holidays)

Most common questions from users

  • Who can request probate?

  • This procedure may be carried out by anyone with a legitimate interest in the inheritance, who must accredit this status by furnishing a death certificate, certificate of last wishes and the will or declaration of heirs signed before notary.
  • What is the certificate of last wishes (certificado de últimas voluntades)?

  • This is a mandatory document issued by the Ministry of Justice, accrediting whether a person has made a will and the notary before whom it was drawn up.
  • What is the declaration of heirs signed before notary (acta de notoriedad)?

  • For a person who has not made a will, the acta de notoriedad is a notary document naming the heirs.
  • How can I formalise acceptance and distribution of the inheritance?

  • This can be carried out in a public document (drawn up by a notary) or in a private document signed by all the heirs. Their signatures must be acknowledged by the bank or authenticated before notary.
  • What is the timeline for payment of inheritance and gift tax?

  • It must be paid within six months of the death.
  • Can I pay for inheritance and gift tax using the positions owned by the deceased?

  • Yes, it is possible to use the assets held by the deceased at the bank to pay the taxes. In order to do so, death and inheritance rights must be accredited and all the heirs must issue instructions in this respect.
  • Will bills continue to be paid by direct debit from the deceased's account?

  • Yes, unless instructions to the contrary are issued by all the heirs.
  • What happens if the balances held in the account have changed at the time of distribution?

  • The heirs must issue new instructions for distribution in relation to the current balance. It is advisable to do this in percentages on the existing balance at the time of distribution.
  • Who is the usufructuary?

  • This means the person who is entitled to use and enjoy property, without owning it.
  • What is bare ownership?

  • This means the right of a person over an item of which they are merely the owner, but with no right to possess or enjoy, as these rights will be vested in the third party entitled to usufruct.
  • What happens if the account balances have been awarded in usufruct and bare ownership?

  • New instructions must be issued to award the balances in full ownership.
  • How are usufruct and bare ownership assessed?

  • According to applicable tax law, usufruct is assessed using the following formula:

    89 – age of the usufructuary

    The result obtained will be the percentage of the value of usufruct.

    Meanwhile, bare ownership is assessed with the following formula:

    100 – value of usufruct

    The result obtained will be the percentage of the value of bare ownership.

    Example: if the usufructuary is 60 years old, the value of the usufruct is 89-60 = 29. The value of the usufruct is 29% of the balance in full ownership. And the value of bare ownership will be 100-29 = 71. In other words, the party with bare ownership will be awarded 71% of the balance in full ownership.
  • What happens to the debts of the deceased?

  • All the heirs will subrogate the existing debts and will be jointly and severally liable. Any undertaking of debt other than a joint undertaking must be expressly approved by the bank.

    If you have to contend with a probate process, be sure to download our Practical guide to probate for heirs and beneficiaries.

Do you have doubts?

We put at your disposal our Heir Orientation Service. Call us at

900.10.49.28

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday (except holidays)

Probate Service

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