Spanish Notariat Launches New Series of Teaching Videos

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What is a preventive power of attorney for? What are its limits and when should it be executed? How does it differ from self-guardianship? Does a de facto couple recognised before a notary have validity across Spain? Which rights and obligations differentiate it from a married couple? What is preventive legal certainty? What is its real usefulness? These are some of the questions answered by three notaries from different Spanish towns in the videos published by the General Council of Notaries to answer citizens’ questions in a practical and simple way.

José María Navarro Viñuales, a notary from Zaragoza, recalls some of the cases encountered in his notary’s office: “Sometimes a person comes and tells us that he gave some money to a friend or an acquaintance to set up a business and that now that the business is yielding a profit, the friend wants nothing to do with him. Because he cannot prove that part of the business is his, we have no choice but to recommend that he take the matter to court, whereas if he had come to the notary’s office at an earlier stage we would have told him how best to protect his interests”. This Zaragoza notary also recalls the cost in time and money involved for some heirs to authenticate a holographic will which, had it been drawn up before a notary, would not have cost more than 50 euros.

Watch the video here.

Carmen Rodríguez, a notary from Cieza, Murcia, addresses the doubts of a future de facto couple, whom she informs that while there is no national legislation on de facto couples, to state it in an authentic instrument before a notary will ensure that they are recognised as such across the country, giving them a series of legal rights and legal protection.

The notary explains that while the rights and obligations are the same as for married couples, there are differences and limitations that it is imperative to know about because they may affect the legal certainty of one of the members. In the same family-related field, in another consultation we learn that one can recognise offspring in a will and that this is the only testamentary content that can never be revoked once expressed.

Watch the video here.

Alicia Aragoncillo, a notary from Cabanillas del Campo, in Guadalajara, explains what preventive powers of attorney are and what they are for. These powers of attorney allow the person granting them to designate a trusted person to act in his or her name when they have lost their decision-making capacity, something that unfortunately is increasingly likely among the elderly due to a greater life expectancy. Alicia Aragoncillo also describes a further two mechanisms for the protection of the individual. One is granting self-guardianship – appointing a guardian for oneself – and the other is the advance decision on medical treatment, with both legal concepts having experienced considerable growth in the past decade. Specifically, in 2014, preventive powers of attorney increased by 33% compared to 2013, and self-guardianships by 10%. If we compare these figures just with those of 2010, the increases were 402% and 55% respectively. 

Watch the video here.

"We notaries provide a free and impartial advisory service that many citizens do not know about. Through initiatives such as these we are hoping to encourage Spanish people to consult us more often” says José Manuel García Collantes, President of the General Council of Notaries. Other videos on inheritance and wills, buying and selling homes, marriage settlements or creation of businesses have been viewed more than 35,000 times and this has led the notaries to step in front of the cameras for a second time.