When it comes to using legal professionals in Spain, you want to make sure that you are contacting the right person for the right job. Below we have provided you with a helpful guide to the different legal professions here in Spain, how they are referred to in Spanish and their UK equivalent.
Understanding the Different Spanish Legal Professions
Abogado is the Spanish word for lawyer. However, in the UK the term abogado is the equivalent to a solicitor or barrister. Similarly, in the United States, an Abogado is commonly referred to as an attorney.
Your abogado should be a member of the law society in Spain which is the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados. It is this society which sets the minimum charge level, which enables you to ask your lawyer for a charge estimate before instructing them.
While the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados operates at the provincial level, there is a national association representing the profession, which is the Consejo General de la Abogacía Española.
An abogado can be used for;
- Property law and disputes
- Custody cases
- Wills and inheritance tax
- Marriage and divorce
An Asesor is a Spanish term for an advisor. Asesores can help with a range of legal and tax concerns and may employ an abogado as part of their team. Asesores can help to cover an issue comprehensively, offering advice with legal compliance as well as helping with tax and property services.
Typically, an asesor offers accountancy consultancy. Their specialism will usually relate to taxes to the Spanish Tax Office, the Hacienda.
An asesor can be used for;
- Tax advice
- Financial matters
- Fiscal representation
A Gestor does not have an English equivalent, but typically translates as an administrative consultant. A gestor can be an intermediary between you and the official bodies in Spain such as government departments. Gestors are particularly useful as they have an in-depth understanding of procedures and can complete lengthy paperwork that is extremely complicated for those who do not have a knowledge of the system.
A gestor can help with many things, such as obtaining permits to dodging bureaucratic errors that can slow a process down.
A gestor can help with;
- Legal and tax support for property sales
- Wills relating to Spanish property
- Obtaining Spanish licence plates, importing vehicles and changing vehicle ownership
- Spanish driving licences
- Local and national taxes
- Looking after financial interests on your behalf
- Securing residency
- Arranging permits such as a building permit
An Economista is a financial expert in Spain who can assist you with all aspects of your finances. From planning to understanding best policy and practice. For businesses in Spain and self-employed individuals, an economista can help to improve fiscal activities.
An economista can assist with;
- Budgeting for the self-employed
- Fiscal advice for businesses
- Financial planning
- Fiscal policies
As in the UK and other countries, a notary can provide you with the certification to ensure that legal transactions are carried out correctly. Notarios or notaries will verify Spanish documents with a stamp and signature to make sure that important transactions are legally compliant. A Notaria does not replace a solicitor or abogado. Instead, they work alongside all parties to draft documents, certify agreements and offer advice to make sure transactions are carried out correctly.
A notaria can provide advice for and certify wills, property contracts, landlord rental contracts, loans and mortgages. A notary can also keep minutes for communities or property owners. As well as this, they can register company charters. The fee for a notary is usually fixed and uncomplicated.
A notaria will usually read an agreement or contract in Spanish so if your Spanish is not fluent; it is important to have an English-speaking lawyer or translator with you before you sign any documents. In fact, many notaries will insist on an English-speaking lawyer being present.
A notaria will help with;
- Drafting documents
- Transaction advice
- Certifying agreements
- Advising procedures and formalities
An Inmobiliaria is an estate agent. In Spain, most properties are placed on the market with the use of an Inmobiliaria. However, estate agents are not regulated by law, so it is essential to check that the Inmobiliaria is registered with some form of professional association. Registration is usually with Expertos Inmobiliarios or Agente de Propiedad Inmobiliaria, and you can check their registration number with the association.
Many property owners will instruct multiple estate agents to place their property on the market. It may be worth checking different estate agents in case they offer lower prices or better deals. If you do decide to purchase a property, your instructed solicitor will be able to check that the estate agent is properly authorised.
Whenever you are looking to instruct a legal professional here in Spain, make sure that you carry out due dilligence and make sure they are fully regulated.