What is the trosseau in Spain?
To the estate, which is made up of the assets of the inheritance, must be added what is known as “Household Goods or Trosseau”, which may well be confused with the personal belongings and objects of the deceased. This is an objective estimate fixed by law and amounts to three percent of the amount of the deceased’s estate, unless the interested parties assign a higher value to this property or can prove that it does not exist or that its value is lower than that resulting from the application of the aforementioned percentage.
The determination of the trousseau is not a trivial matter, as three percent of the inherited assets can be a very considerable amount, which the heirs are not prepared to take on.
Recent Supreme Court case law (STS 956/2020, of 19 May 2020, and STS 1619/2020, among others), have determined the valuation of household effects and which elements or assets should be understood to be included within the concept of household effects in article 15 of Law 29/1987 of 18 December 1987 on Inheritance and Gift Tax.
Thus, from the jurisprudential doctrine of the Supreme Court in Spain we can highlight the following:
1. The trousseau in Spain only comprises a certain class of assets and not a percentage of all the assets that make up the inheritance.
2. Article 15 of the LISD itself refers expressly to “trousseau”, and although it does not define it objectively, it expresses a concrete reality, although it has not been formally established in the law itself in Spain, since, otherwise, the possibility for the taxpayer to prove either the non-existence of the trousseau or that it is less than three percent of the estate would not have been foreseen.
3. The concept of household effects, although not defined exhaustively in tax law, let alone enumerated, cannot simply comprise a percentage of the totality of the assets of the estate, but only those which, according to civil and tax law, are properly household effects.
4. The trousseau in Spain comprises the set of movable goods used for the service of the family home or for the personal use of the deceased, in accordance with the descriptions contained in Article 1321 of the Civil Code, in relation to Article 4 of the Wealth Tax Law, both interpreted in relation to their concordant precepts, in accordance with social reality, in a current sense.
5. Specifically, the idea that the three percent of the estate which, as a legal presumption, is established in the aforementioned Article 15 LISD includes all the assets of the inheritance in Spain, but only those which, due to their identity, value and function, can be used for the private or personal use of the deceased, to the exclusion of all others, is not correct.
6. As the shares and stockholdings are not included, not even analogically, in the concept of household goods, however broadly we may define it, they cannot be taken into account for the purposes of applying the legal presumption of 3 percent.
7. The taxpayer may destroy this presumption by making use of the means of proof admitted in law, in order to prove, administratively or judicially, that certain goods, because they do not form part of the household goods, are not susceptible to inclusion in the scope of the three percent, on the basis that this notion only includes movable tangible goods for personal or private use, according to the criterion we have established.
Therefore, money (in bank accounts, securities, deposits), securities, real estate assets or other intangible assets are assets that could in no case be included in the legal or tax concept of “household goods”.
8. Additional assets, accumulated donations and life insurance shall not be taken into account in determining the household goods in Spain.
9. If there is a surviving spouse, 3% of the cadastral value of the habitual residence of the married couple will be deducted from the 3% value of the household goods.
In addition to the household goods, a series of assets that only have tax effects must be added to the relict estate, which the tax regulations refer to as “additional or additional assets” to the estate.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any doubts you may have when accepting an inheritance in Spain. Our specialist lawyers will be pleased to assist you.