PRACTICAL CASE:

I NEED TO APPLY FOR A SPANISH NATIONALITY FOR MY CHILD WHO LIVES IN PAKISTAN. HOW CAN I DO IT?

At Gunnercooke LLP we have seen a noticeable amount of enquiries from Spanish-Pakistani families where one of the members of the family is Spanish and the other one is usually from Pakistan (or another country). In most of those cases, the family lives in the UK and has a son or a daughter abroad (either in Spain or in Pakistan) waiting to obtain a Spanish nationality in order to reunite with the family.

The normal practice is for the parents of the child to apply for the minor´s Spanish nationality at the Police station in Spain or at the relevant Consulate abroad (for instance Islamabad). However, very often the minor lives abroad (Spain or Pakistan) and the parents cannot travel abroad because they are working in the UK. In those cases, one of the parents or a third person can apply for the minor´s nationality by way of a notarial power of attorney.

See below the possible scenarios and their solution:

A.- Parents and minor living in Spain.- They can apply for the minor´s Spanish nationality at the local Police Station.

B.- Parents and minor living in Pakistan.- They can apply for the minor´s Spanish nationality at the Spanish Consulate in Islamabad.

C.- Parents and minor living in the UK.- They can apply for the minor´s Spanish nationality at the Spanish Consulates in London and Edinburgh.

D.- Parents living in the UK and the minor living in Spain with relatives.- The parents can grant power of attorney to each other to apply for the minor´s nationality in Spain or alternatively, grant power of attorney to a third person to enable him/her to apply for the minor´s nationality in Spain.

E.- Parents living in the UK and the minor living in Pakistan with relatives.- The parents can grant power of attorney to each other to apply for the minor´s nationality in Pakistan or alternatively, grant power of attorney to a third person to enable him/her to apply for the minor´s nationality in Pakistan.

 

It is therefore possible to find a solution in scenarios D and E. The Spanish desk at Gunnercooke LLP has experience in drafting the necessary powers of attorney to enable one of the parents or a third person to apply for the minor´s nationality at the country where the minors is residing.

Obviously, our expertise is restricted to drafting the power of attorney. We do not advise on Spanish nationality applications but we can certainly help with the power of attorney and save the families the hassle of having to fly to the relevant country when their normal life is taking place in the UK.

For further information please contact

Antonio.guillen@gunnercooke.com

07872808598

 

 

Have your clients paid high Inheritance or Gift taxes in Spain in the past?

Gunnercooke

Pursuant to the European Court of Justice´s decision of the 3/9/2014 they could be entitled to ask for a refund

The Spanish inheritance and gift tax is a national tax but the Spanish Government transferred it to the regional bodies (autonomous communities), who have autonomy to legislate and collect the tax. The autonomous communities have legislated a number of tax benefits that are applicable to taxpayers, resident in their regions.

The key point is that most of the Autonomous Regions have introduced tax benefits to their residents, i.e. in the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza or Menorca) the inheritance transfers between immediate family members, if they are residents, are taxed with a maximum of 1% in most estates.

The problem is when we are talking about non-Spanish residents because the tax is not transferred to the regional bodies and the state rules apply without the said benefits. This implied that in the past a person who was not resident in Spain was paying a higher Inheritance tax than a person who was resident in that country. This was clearly a discrimination within the EU and many groups of affected individuals and professionals complained before the EU Courts.

In 2007 the European Commission sent a warning to Spain about a potential incompatibility between the Spanish inheritance and gift tax rules with Articles 21 and 63 of the TFEU and Articles 28 and 40 of the EEA. The Commission formally requested Spain on the 5th May 2010 and 17th February 2011 to take action to ensure compliance with EU rules. As Spain failed to take action, the Commission decided to take Spain to the CJEU and the European Court of Justice declared in its Decision dated 3th of September 2014 that this legislation breached the free movement of capital and it was contrary to the European laws. Spain was therefore forced to amend its legislation in that way.

Knowing that at present the inheritance or gifts between non-Spanish residents have the same benefits that residents have, the key questions are:

What about the taxes already paid by non-Spanish residents before that European Decision? Can we claim a refund for the excessive taxes?

The effects of the CJEU Decision 3/9/14 are not temporary limited and therefore if your clients have paid the inheritance or gift tax in Spain as a non-resident they should be able to claim for the reimbursement of the excess paid.

We would recommend contacting a Spanish Lawyer to review the Inheritance or Gift taxes already paid by your clients in Spain before 2014, and more importantly, if your clients are going to pay taxes in the following months, a Spanish Lawyer will also help them to decide the best way to minimise taxes, without the need to appeal for a refund.

On the other hand, we would also recommend your clients when buying in Spain, to consider the different tax rates and take into account the different regions and their tax rule, before deciding where to buy. We all know that laws can change, but why do not take this into account if it can help clients to save some money?

Claudia Font & Antonio Guillen

Spanish lawyers at gunnercookellp

1 Cornhill London EC3V 3ND 53 King Street Manchester M2 4LQ

 

E-mail: claudia.font@gunnercooke.com       E-mail: antonio.guillen@gunnercooke.com

D: 07788585115                                                  D: 07872808598

 

 

Spanish Powers of Attorney signed in the UK

image-for-poaA new Spanish case Decision by the Director General of Notaries and Registrars in Spain (DGRN) has been issued on the 14th of September 2016 affecting Spanish Powers of Attorney signed abroad and therefore also those signed in the United Kingdom.

The said decision of the DGNR rejected the registration in Spain of a purchase transaction where a Spanish Power of Attorney signed before an English Notary Public had been granted. The reason for rejecting the registration of the document was that the Land Registrar considered the powers and faculties of the English Notary Public who notarised the Power of Attorney (POA) not sufficiently proved.

Under the aforementioned Decision, a foreign POA should have the same structure than the Spanish public documents. This means that the document should be signed by an authorized person with capacity to give faith and certify the identity of the donor/grantor and his/her capacity.

 

This Decision stated that the foreign POA should also mention that it will be legalized according to the relevant International rules. In the case of a POA signed in the UK, this means the legalisation of the document with the apostille of the Hague Convention.

 

The key point is to ensure on the document that the UK Notary public is giving sufficient warranties to the relevant Spanish authorities as to the capacity of the donor/grantor. From now on, a Spanish POA where the UK Notary Public is restricted to certifying the identity of a person will not be sufficient. A Judgment on capacity will also be required.

 

We are of the opinion, that the said decision cannot be extrapolated to all cases. The power of attorney that created this “storm” of doubts was a power of attorney solely drafted in Spanish and the Notary Public in question limited his involvement to adding a certificate to the power of attorney which lacked any mention to capacity. We therefore think, and hope, that Spanish Notaries and Land Registrars will reconsider their position with regards to the powers of attorney executed in the UK and will soon start to recognise these again. However, there could be the odd exception where a Spanish Notary or Land Registrar will turn down a perfectly valid power of attorney executed in the UK. To avoid these kind of situations, some carefully attention needs to be put into the drafting of the power of attorney to ensure that the document has a higher chance of being accepted in Spain.

Do not hesitate to contact gunnercooke’s Spanish desk if you require further information or help with the signing and execution of a Spanish Power of Attorney in the UK.

A quick guide on buying property in Spain for UK solicitors

Beach huts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a client looking to buy property in Spain?

How can you help him/her from the UK?

 It is quite likely that you will have one or two clients looking for a property in Spain. The uncertainty of Brexit and the temporary weakness of the Sterling pound has not stop British buyers from their dream of buying a home in Sunny Spain. It is true that they are not buying as much as they did before the recession but they are still buying second homes and looking for a place to retire or a place to spend family holidays.

Very often, clients will contact their trusted advisors to see if they can give them some guidance or recommend a lawyer able to deal with the purchase of the property in Spain. Obviously, you cannot be expected to be versed on Spanish law and the normal thing is to recommend the client to look for a Spanish lawyer or to recommend one, if you have come across a firm in the past and you were happy with the service provided. Having said that, knowledge is never a burden and therefore see below a few tips on what should and what should not be done when buying property in Spain which will prove of help if you are approached by one of your clients asking for advice:

1) Help your client to make an accurate budget.

Apart from the price of the property your client should consider other costs involved in the transaction:

– Taxes, Notary and Land Registry: Approximately 10%-12%.

– Spanish Lawyer fees*

– Surveyor**

* althoughnot mandatory (because the Spanish Notary usually carries out the main checks on the title and charges), we would always recommend instructing a Spanish lawyer who can collaborate with you when your client is buying in Spain. He will carry on a full due diligence on the property and draft the necessary contract. The Notary Public will not do the above.

** we would recommend to have one when your client is buying a resale property in order to be 100% sure about what yourclient is going to buy.

2) Inform your client that he/she should save a 30%-40% deposit plus 10%-12% for the Notary, taxes and Land Registry fees.

Nowadays, most of Spanish banks are not offering mortgages which exceed 70% of the appraised value of the property. Your client will need to ensure that he/she has enough deposit to complete on the purchase, usually around 30%-40%.

3) Your client should have a clear idea of what he is planning to buy before committing to a purchase

Spain has different regions with big differences between them in terms of weather, lifestyle, tourism, etc and most importantly, in terms of price. We would recommend your clients to visit the place in winter so they can get an idea of the way of life outside the tourist season.

Once they decide where they want to buy, the second step is to consider the different types of properties they can buy, i.e. brand new, old property, off-plan property, urban or rustic land, and obtain legal advice to ensure they are fully advised on all aspects of being the ownerof a property in Spain.

4) Encourage your client to check different options of mortgages.

Make sure your client fully understands the conditions of the mortgage offer. We would recommend to have the draft mortgage deed reviewed by a Spanish lawyer in order to ensure that it does not contain abusive clauses. In our recent article about Spanish mortgages we talked about some abusive clauses that some Spanish lenders have been including in their mortgages in recent years and that should be avoided when getting a Spanish mortgage.

Look for the mortgage which is most appropriate for your client´s income and financials. There is a range of mortgages on offer and yourclient should pay special attention to the interest rate, repayment period, fees for setting up the mortgage as well as early repayment and cancellation fees.

 5) Advise your client to reserve the property and sign a purchase agreement or “contrato de arras”.

If yourclient finally finds “the” property, he/she will have to reserve it while you and your Spanish lawyer will be collaborating and dealing with all the checks that the transaction requires to ensure that they are buying safely. Your client will need to pay a reservation fee of around 3000 Euro which will take the property out of the market. Then, once all the checks have been done, and the documentation has been reviewed, he/she will be asked to pay a deposit of around 10% with the signing of the purchase agreement (contrato de arras) and the rest will be due on completion.

Signing an “arras” contract means that both parties have the right to withdraw:

If your client decides not to proceed with the transaction he/she will lose the deposit, but if it is the seller who withdraws, or if the property has been misrepresented, yourclient will be entitled to claim double of the deposit: his 10% plus another 10% compensation.

6) Consider engaging a surveyor.

Your client may consider that the property needs to be surveyed by a professional with appropriate experience and qualifications. That is very sensible thing to do, but your client will find that some Spanish estate agents will discourage this. If that is the case, the client needs to follow his/her own instincts and still instruct his/her own surveyor.

7) Check the annual expenses of owning a property in Spain.

Be certain of the likely annual expenses your client will incur, including service charges, property tax (IBI), non-residents income tax, wealth tax if applicable, electricity, water, gas, etc.

8) Instruct an independent Spanish lawyer to collaborate with you.

All of the above-mentioned advice can became a terrible bureaucratic fight if yourclient does not engage the expertise and help of an independent Spanish lawyer.

A Spanish lawyer will guide you or your client through the entire process, avoiding extra costs and, what is more important, ensuring that the property your client is going to buy has all it needs to be transferred into his/her name: no charges, no development plans affecting it, etc.

You can instruct a Spanish Lawyer based in Spain or in the UK. Please note that there are several UK law firms with an in house Spanish lawyer able to provide legal advice without your client having to go to Spain.

 9) Warn your client not to declare a lower value than the actual purchase price.

In the past it was quite common to declare a low value for the property in order to minimize the transfer tax payable by the buyer and the CGT payable by the seller. Nowadays, the Spanish treasury will prosecute anyone who declares a price lower than the one effectively paid. The wrongdoer will be fined and additional interest will be applied. On the other hand, when your client decides to sell the property, he/she will be liable to pay Spanish capital gains tax on any profit made and he/she will be liable for CGT on a much larger (but not real) profit.

 10) Recommend your client to make a Spanish Will.

We would recommend your clients to sign a Spanish Will when acquiring a property in Spain. This in order to avoid potential problems in the future for their relatives and beneficiaries. It is not compulsory but in our own experience, really advisable.

Claudia Font & Antonio Guillen

Spanish Desk

Gunnercooke LLP

www.gunnercooke.com

 

London   Manchester

Tell me more about Gunnercooke!

http://http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/business-club-video/legal-sector-videos/12213217/gunnercooke.html

What is Gunnercooke? Very often I get asked this question by clients and contacts. They have heard that we are a diffent law firm to the standard, traditional and rigid law firms. However they do not know what makes the difference between us and other law firms.

See above an interesting video made by The Telegraph on our law firm Gunnercooke LLP which explains the ethos of the firm. It summarises quite well who we are, what we do and what we are aiming to achieve. You will note that our priority is client service. We believe that by focusing on clients, the rest (the financials, the success, the reputation) will follow eventually.

Interestingly, Gunnercooke LLP celebrated its annual symposium last week in Oxford where around 100 plus lawyers gathered to talk about the trajectory of the firm and listened to excellent speakers who talked about various subjects from business development to client quality service and even how to be happy! It was a good opportunity for lawyers from different departments to talk about what they are doing and the future of the legal profession.

oxford-college

It was also positive for us, the Spanish lawyers at Gunnercooke, to discuss burning subjects of today with other lawyers such as Brexit, the economy and how this could affect our clients and their interest in Spain.

A wonderful and enriching experience that we are eager to repeat next year. Specially in such a historic (and magical!) place as the Oxford College!!

 

 

 

 

 

Antonio Guillén and Claudia Font, Spanish lawyers at Gunnercooke LLP, at the annual Gala at the Oxford College.

People walk over Westminster Bridge wrapped in Union flags, towards the Queen Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) and The Houses of Parliament in central London on June 26, 2016. Britain's opposition Labour party plunged into turmoil Sunday and the prospect of Scottish independence drew closer, ahead of a showdown with EU leaders over the country's seismic vote to leave the bloc. Two days after Prime Minister David Cameron resigned over his failure to keep Britain in the European Union, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faced a revolt by his lawmakers who called for him, too, to quit. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

BREXIT AND SPAIN: TWO MONTHS LATER

WHAT WOULD AN EVENTUAL BREXIT MEAN FOR THOSE BRITISH THAT WANT TO BUY PROPERTY IN SPAIN?

How would it affect British people who own properties in Spain? And those who are in the process of buying them?

It is too early to know what is going to happen but the more immediate effect is the depreciation of the sterling pound. If you already own property in Spain then no need to panic and as the old saying states: Keep calm and carry on!

If you are planning to buy a property in Spain or have fallen in love with a specific villa and do not want to wait until there is more certainty about the future of the UK in the European Union, you can compensate the depreciation of the sterling pound with some measures. Below you will see some examples:

  1. You could offer to pay the purchase price in Sterling pound. This may prove interesting for the seller, especially if it is a British seller (something not that unusual these days). By doing this you will not be exposed to the depreciation of the pound and you will not pay a higher price for the property in Spain.
  2. If the above is not possible, you should then use a foreign currency broker who will be able to buy the Euro for a more favourable rate than the one offered by your High Street bank. Unless you are a High Net Worth Individual who has the privilege of having a bank account with a private bank, in which case you may get a similar rate to the one offered by a Foreign Currency broker.
  3. Finally, the economy in Spain and in the UK are not that stable. Use this point to negotiate a reduction in the price. In spite of an increase in property demand in certain areas of Spain, the property market is still far from recovered and the current economic and political uncertainty could help to get a substantial reduction in the price that could compensate the money that you may lose with the depreciation of the sterling pound.

These are just a few recommendations. Obviously, don´t forget to instruct an independent lawyer for your purchase. Whether is Antonio Guillen and Claudia Font at Gunnercooke LLP (or another lawyer) do not make the mistake of using a lawyer recommended by an estate agent or the seller because that could lead to a conflict of interest and eventually to a problem.

 

 

3rd Edition of Spanish Festival

FESTEJAR 2016

Festejar 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left to right: Virginia Moreno, Claudia Font, Jesus Torre, Mariluz Simal, Antonio Guillén and Angel Miguelez.

The Spanish Desk from Gunnercooke attended last night the opening of the FESTEJAR festival in Manchester. It is the third edition of a Spanish festival in which, for four days (from the 1st the the 4th of September), visitors will be able to enjoy live music, food and drinks with the greatest “Iberian” atmosphere.

The festival brands itself as one with a “Spanish soul with a Manchester heart”, and we could not agree more.

As Antonio Guillen, Honorary Consul for Spain in Manchester, stated, he “really enjoyed the two previous editions of the festival, where Spanish food, music and drinks took over Albert’s square in a very civilised, tolerant and vibrant event”.

The festival gives us all the opportunity to check the good relations that exist between British and Spanish people, in such an international city as Manchester.

Giving the atmosphere that surrounded the opening last night, there is no doubt that the third edition is going to be probably even better than the two previous ones.

If possible, clear your schedule for this weekend and join us at FESTEJAR!

How to apply for British citizenship

British citizenship

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Article is in Spanish because it is mainly for those Spanish nationals who are considering applying for British citizenship. Should you require information in English please contact us on Antonio.guillen@gunnercooke.com

A la vista de varias consultas hechas recientemente sobre la posibilidad de pedir la ciudadanía británica, y de los nuevos acontecimientos políticos, dejo aquí 4 pinceladas, por si os son de interés.

Los españoles que llevan 5 años residiendo en Reino Unido (o 3 si están casados con un nacional británico) pueden pedir el certificado de residencia británico y al cabo de 12 meses aplicar para la ciudadanía. Si lleváis 6 años, lo podéis hacer al mismo tiempo.

Son una serie de trámites para lo que NO es necesario abogado, si bien muchos de vosotros preferís contratar a alguien pues los trámites, aunque no muy complicados, siempre son un tanto pesados.

Si lo queréis pedir vosotros directamente, encontraréis toda la información en este link https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen/check-if-you-can-apply.

Los costes para pedirlo (aún haciéndolo directamente vosotros) son aproximadamente los siguientes:

Certificación de residencia permanente en el Home Office: actualmente unos £65.

Costes para la solicitud de la ciudadanía, al Gobierno Británico: £1,236.

Registro de datos biométricos: actualmente unos £19.20.

En caso de que queráis hacerlo a través de abogado, desde el Spanish Desk en gunnercooke estaremos encantados de haceros un presupuesto.

Necesitaremos en primer lugar pediros una serie de datos, a parte de los personales de contacto, tales como fecha de entrada, estancias fuera del país, si tenéis algún certificado que acredite vuestro nivel de inglés, entre otros.

Estaremos encantados de asistiros en estos trámites.

Espero que os sea útil este post.

Antonio Guillén & Claudia Font

Gunnercooke LLP

www.gunnercooke.com

Spanish theme restaurant Tapeo opens in Manchester

Tapeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spanish desk from Gunnercooke LLP attended last night the soft opening of Tapeo Restaurant in Manchester.

Tapeo is the latest Spanish Restaurant to be opened in the busiest area of Manchester City Centre. Fully owned by Spanish owners and managed by couple Nacho Garcia and Natalia Esquerdo, the restaurant has a very high chance of becoming the new place to go for Spanish food in Manchester.

From a legal and business point of view, it is very inspiring to see Spanish theme businesses opening in the City Centre. Tapeo follows the opening of recent Spanish theme restaurants such as La Bandera, Iberica, Lunya and El Gato Negro. Having such a wide variety of Spanish food in town (and with the recent sunnier weather) who longer needs to go to Spain for authentic Spanish food?

See below press release from Manchester Evening News.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/tapeo-manchester-spanish-restaurant-deansgate-11320977

Gunnercooke’s Spanish desk grows with another Spanish lawyer

Gunnercooke

 

 

 

 

 

I am glad to inform that Claudia Font has joined our law firm Gunnercooke LLP to form part of the Spanish desk. Claudia is qualified in Spanish law and is registered to practice in both Spain and England. She is originally from Barcelona and will be based in the North West of England helping to consolidate what is probably the largest Spanish desk in the North of England. Myself and Claudia will also travel regularly to London to meet clients in the capital and provide services to UK clients both in the North and the South.

For further information on the team see below.

Gunnercooke LLP                                                   

SPANISH DESK

SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS

About Gunnercooke LLP

We are a full service legal firm, and our model is very simple:

  • We comprise solely senior lawyers – every lawyer has minimum 10,000 hours practising experience, and our clients not only benefit from the expertise this brings, but also from the authority it commands
  • We provide certainty and transparency over the cost of our services, providing fixed fee quotes that will never change
  • 95% of our lawyers have spent time in-house or in business, developing a commercial edge to their legal advice

Spanish legal services for individuals

 Gunnercooke LLP is probably the only law firm in the North of England with two qualified Spanish lawyers able to advise individuals in respect of their assets and investments in Spain.

The Spanish desk at Gunnercooke LLP is formed by Antonio Guillen and Claudia Font. Both of them are qualified to practice Spanish law and duly registered with the Law Society of Barcelona, Spain as well as the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales.

Antonio and Claudia are primarily based in the North West but have clients from all around the UK and can therefore advise UK clients regardless of their location. They also hold regular meetings with clients in the South through our London office.

The Spanish legal services provided by the Spanish desk are the following:

  • Sale and purchase of residential properties
  • Will drafting and estate planning
  • Administration of estates
  • Powers of attorney
  • Property disputes and litigation
  • Mortgages
  • Debt negotiation and Insolvency
  • N.I.E. numbers

About the team      

Antonio Guillen
Antonio Guillen

                                                            

 Antonio Guillen is a dual qualified Spanish lawyer and English solicitor specialized in Spanish civil law, in particular property and probate matters in connection to assets in Spain. He gives regular lectures on Spanish law to UK solicitors, STEP practitioners and Notary Publics and is known as a point of reference for cross border probate matters between UK and Spain. Antonio is also the Honorary Consul for Spain in Manchester and helps the Spanish Consulate and Embassy with certain delegated tasks in respect of Spanish nationals living in the UK.

Claudia Font
Claudia Font

Claudia Font is qualified in Spain, member of the Barcelona Law Society and also authorized by the SRA to practice in England and Wales (Registered European Lawyer) with over 13 years of professional experience. She specializes in civil law (property, family, litigation and corporate law, in connection to matters of Spanish law). She is well experienced with the process of transferring Spanish assets after divorce proceedings with the British and international clients, as well as property and litigation.

Gunnercooke LLP

 

1 Cornhill London EC3V 3ND 53 King Street Manchester M2 4LQ

T: 03330 143 401 www.gunnercooke.com