5 Difficult Questions You Need To Ask
When you live away from “home”, whether it’s been 5 years or 30, there are always some difficult topics that you never seem to get around to. Here are five important questions you need to ask yourself before you regret not having done so.
1. Do You Have A Will?
The majority of people don’t have a will. It can cause a lot stress and problems if you live in your home country where there’s no language barrier. But what happens if you don’t have a will in Spain?
Although we can’t contemplate the differences between Spanish law and dozens of other countries, official residents in Spain can opt to draw up a will under Spanish law or under their own national laws even if this is not an EU country. Read more on the official EU website: cross-border inheritance, including exceptions to the rule.
A simple will under Spanish inheritance law will cost around 50€ at a notary. However expect to pay more if the documentation is more complicated or when it’s in accordance with your national laws.
It’s a good idea to get everything down on paper, even if you’re not sure of the legalities, before visiting a lawyer/notary. By doing this you’ll make sure that you don’t forget anything you want to ask or get advice on.
2. Have You Set Up A Power Of Attorney (POA) For Your Future Financial Affairs?
Have you considered who will deal with your affairs if you’re unable to due to temporary or permanent medical issues? You may already have drawn up a POA in your home country, but it may not be legal in Spain.
You’ll have to speak with a lawyer or notary in Spain in order to know exactly what you can prepare for.
If you have assets in different countries, you may need more than one POA in order for it to be recognised under different jurisdictions.
Given the complexities, it’s no surprise that it’s something we often don’t sort out. However as it’s impossible to know what the future holds, it’s definitely an area you should look into.
3. What Happens If Someone “Back Home” Becomes Ill?
Many people who have moved to Spain have left behind parents who may become ill or incapacitated, physically or mentally, over time and require assistance. Have you contemplated how you’ll deal with this if and when the time comes?
For those with siblings in the same country as elderly parents, the answer may seem simple. Be clear regarding roles and responsibilities to avoid resentment setting in over time. Some family members may feel that you don’t carry the same burden, make it clear what each person can, and can’t, do.
Regarding the financial implications of part-time or full-time care, or payment of a residential care home, you’ll need to think about how it will be covered. Will you make regular transfers to another family member? If so, check out all your options on currency transfers in our post.
4. What’s Your Healthcare Plan For The Future?
If you’re not covered by the Spanish healthcare system, or as a result of changes (such as Brexit) may not be covered in the future, have you considered your options?
Even if your health is perfect at the moment, paying for long term chronic illness care and medication in the future could deplete your savings.
Take a look at our post on Looking After Your Health In Spain for more information.
5. What About Your Future Finances?
Sit down and work out how much you have now and how long you could pay essentials (mortgage/rent, bills, etc) before your money runs out. If the numbers look great, factor in unfavourable currency shifts and take another look.
Depending on your circumstances you may feel that it’s time to take out a life insurance policy or critical illness cover. If you use an online comparison website, check not only the cost but also at the cover offered, cheapest is not necessarily best.
If you’ll be depending on downsizing to make up the difference in the future, remember that selling your current home for the price you want some years down the line is not in your hands. Markets go up and down and if you need to sell during a future financial crisis you may get considerably less than you think.