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Whos who in the Spanish property buying minefield

The problems that some expats have had with buying homes in Spain continue to make headlines. The Spanish legal and fiscal system can be a minefield for those who dont understand it. In fact, it can be a minefield for those who do.

Because of this it is worth seeking the advice of professionals. That doesnt mean that everything will always go smoothly, but usually at least you have a method of complaining if it doesnt. The variety of professionals available to help can also be rather confusing. Here weve compiled a little glossary to help you with the titles of the legal and financial people that you might need to use.

Abogado The abogado is a Spanish lawyer – a trained professional who can check the legal status of your documents, carry out inheritance instructions and complete the usual kinds of tasks you would expect of a solicitor in the UK.

Notario The notary is a public official who does not act on behalf of individuals but legalises documents such as power of attorney, wills and title deeds. The notario will not check contractual terms for you but might give advice on legal points.

Asesor fiscal This is an accountant who deals with matters of tax and fiscal representation. This can be particularly important for non-residents if they are not available to receive their post and may miss tax notifications delivered to their letterbox. They complete resident and non-resident tax declarations and can help with a variety of financial matters.

Gestor There is no immediate translation for gestor. The best we could come up with was a licensed administrator or professional dealing with state-related paper work. They do generally cover a multitude of roles and provide a very useful service to people who are less than familiar with paperwork requirements. A gestor can help you with many different transactions including those for your vehicle, licences, contracts and self-employment. However, for more in-depth legal and tax information you will need to check arrangements with a asesor fiscal or abogado.

Procurador A procurador might work with an abogado but on the preparation and presentation of documents for court.

Once you have an idea of the type of professional you might need, then it is down to you to do your research. Personal recommendation is still probably one of the best ways of selecting the firm or individual to consult. An obvious point, but be careful the person offering the recommendation doesnt have a personal interest too. Ideally, you should try and speak to three people at least and ask for their suggestions. If the same names are coming up then it looks as though youve found your professional.

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