Spain: Number of elderly seeking to disinherit children quintuples

Spain: Number of elderly seeking to disinherit children quintuples

Thousands of elderly Spaniards are seeking to disinherit their children if they have neglected them during the lockdown.

Spanish support networks for the elderly have reported a fivefold increase in calls from old people asking how to cut their children from their will.

“Our motto is ‘if they don’t look after you, don’t leave them anything’,” Marcel Cornellá, who runs an association for the elderly in the Madrid suburb of Fuenlabrada, told The Sunday Telegraph.

Mr Cornellá said he had been receiving 220 calls per month, fives times the pre-pandemic levels.

“Typically, this is a problem that was already there, and now it has come to the surface as people suffer confinement and health problems,” said Mr Cornellá.

He cited a case in which an 81-year-old widow had had no contact from her daughter for 18 months despite suffering from terminal cancer.

Apart from in Navarre and the Basque Country, you cannot disinherit without cause in Spain. 

“This law of forced inheritance is from the time of horse and carts, and has nothing to do with today’s world. People should be free to choose what they wish to do with their property,” Mr Cornellá added.

“Fortunately, judges are interpreting the law more kindly, and we have rulings now where the psychological suffering caused by a complete lack of contact is being equated to mistreatment,” said Madrid lawyer Francisco Rubiales

“With Covid this problem has exploded. I am getting up to 500 calls a month, but less than 10 per cent go through with the whole process,” Mr Rubiales added.

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