A little forethought and planning can ensure that your heirs don't have to suffer through complicated legal procedures should you die in Spain. Thinking ahead can also ensure that, should your spouse die, you are not left with disastrously high tax bills.

There are two types of rentals in Spain: short term and long term. Short term rentals are basically designed for holiday makers and come with contracts headed by the phrase "Por Temporada", which translates literally as "seasonal". Long term rentals contracts are headed by the word "Vivienda", which means "home" or "residence" and are designed for those planning to stay long term in this country.

You should make a Spanish will to dispose of your Spanish assets to avoid time consuming legal problems for your heirs. To make a Spanish version of your will, it is a good idea to consult a Spanish lawyer or other specialised professional. He or she can advise you regarding this country's strict rules applying to inheritance. Spaniards are subjected to laws governing compulsory heirs.

If you are buying property in Spain, investing or starting a business, or making a will (among other reasons), you should definitely employ the services of an experienced lawyer. You will find that fees are generally lower than those charged by lawyers in northern European countries and when preparing contracts involving a sum of money, (ie property purchase), fees are calculated as a percentage of the sum involved.

In Spain, it is possible to arrange civil and religious marriages between foreigners or a foreigner and a Spanish national provided you do your paperwork first. In addition, the Spanish government is working on agreements with major non-Catholic faiths in terms of accepting their religious marriage ceremonies.