Generally speaking, any document issued abroad to be submitted in Spain as part of an official procedure must be legalised first and then translated by a sworn translator. In the case of Scottish estates with a Spanish element, translating documents such as the deceased’s death certificate, confirmation and any Scottish will is required in order to administer the Spanish assets.

The deceased may have died

  • without making a will;
  • leaving only a Spanish will;
  • leaving only a Scottish will; or
  • leaving both a Scottish will and a Spanish will.

If the deceased left only a Scottish will, a Spanish sworn translation is needed to ascertain the testator’s wishes. If the deceased left both a Scottish will and a Spanish will, translating the Scottish will is needed to verify whether it revokes a Spanish will previously made, or whether it only applies to assets outwith Spain.

Translating wills – a complex task

As wills reflect the wishes and personal circumstances of the deceased, they can vary enormously. Translators may be facing a short, typed and perfectly legible will written in plain English and made two years ago; but they may also be facing a poorly-scanned, long and complex will made over twenty years ago including handwritten parts and obscure legal expressions.

A general lack of punctuation, jurisdiction-specific terminology, alterations and mistakes, or recent updates to the law are other elements which may explain why translating wills is a complex task.

Scots law and subject-matter specialisation

Translators navigate between languages and jurisdictions. Ideally, they should not only master their working languages (e.g. English and Spanish) but also have a sound legal knowledge of the jurisdictions involved (e.g. Scotland and Spain).

Scots law combines elements of common law and civil law, making it a distinctive mixed legal system. Some areas of Scots law are similar to their English counterparts but other areas such as property or succession law differ significantly. That is why as far as wills and other succession-related documents are concerned, having a subject-matter specialisation is key to producing high-quality translations.

Trust a professional – Contact ICR Translations

If you need an experienced Spanish sworn translator specialising in succession matters and with knowledge of Scottish wills and executries, look no further. I am the only legal translator with succession qualifications in three jurisdictions (England and Wales, Spain, and Scotland), including a STEP Advanced Certificate in Wills and Executries: Law and Practice (Scotland).

Spanish sworn translation of Scottish wills: next steps

  1. Read about the Spanish sworn translation process
  2. Contact me by email to request a quotation
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The information included in this article is correct at the time of publication/last update. This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. ICR Translations will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from loss of data or profits as a result of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

Irene Corchado Resmella, a Spanish translator based in Edinburgh. English-Spanish sworn translator appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chartered Linguist and member of the CIOL. As a legal translator, I focus on Private Client law, specialising in Wills and Succession across three jurisdictions (England & Wales, Spain, and Scotland). Affiliate member of STEP. ICR Translations is registered with the ICO and has professional indemnity insurance.

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