Basic aspects of agreements as to succession in Catalonia
Article 431-1 of the Catalan Civil Code establishes that "in agreements as to succession two or more persons may agree on the succession due to the death of any of them, through the institution of one or more heirs and the performance of attributions in a particular capacity". In this way, it is a plurilateral business, very personal, that must be done in a public deed before a notary and that is irrevocable, except that all the signatories are satisfied in its revocation.
The persons who can grant succession agreements, who in any case must be of legal age and have full capacity to act, are the following:
- The spouse or the stable partner.
- Relatives in direct line without limitation of degree, or in collateral line within the fourth degree, in both cases by consanguinity or affinity.
- Relatives by consanguinity in direct line or collateral, within the second degree, of the other spouse or partner.
Having said the above, it is possible to specify the object of the agreements as to succession, being this the power to order the succession with the same amplitude as in a will so that the grantors can make inheritance and particular attributions, including universal usufruct, and subject all this to conditions, substitutions , trusts and reversals. Likewise, in an agreements as to succession may be appointed executors, administrators and accountants.
Regarding the publicity of the agreements as to succession, it should be borne in mind that they must be recorded in the Register of Last Will Acts, and the Notary have to authorise them to make the corresponding communication. Likewise, the inheritance and the particular attributions may be recorded in the Property Registry, during the life of the deceased, in the case of real estate; in the Book Register of Members in the case of nominative shares or social participations; and in the Mercantile Registry if it is about the maintenance and continuity of a family business.
Previously we have stated that the agreements as to succession are irrevocable, but while this is the general rule, it should be noted that they can be modified as long as it is done by public deed and this is the will of all those who are affected by that specific agreement, as well as in the event of any cause of succession indignity, or in the following cases:
- Causes expressly agreed upon in the agreement as to succession itself.
- For breach of the charges imposed on the favored.
- Due to the impossibility of fulfilling the purpose that was the determining factor of the agreement or any of its provisions.
- Due to the fact of a substantial, unexpected and unpredictable change of the circumstances that were its foundation.
Thus, the agreements as to succession are an excellent tool for those relatives who want to leave their wills clear, reaching the deceased's life already in agreements that in the future will serve to avoid possible conflicts.
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