Seizure of Assets in Spain
Updated on Friday 17th May 2019
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The seizure of assets in Spain sometimes referred to as the attachment of assets, is the process through which creditors may collect their due amount by taking a hold of the debtor’s assets, movable and immovable alike.
Attachment can be performed on the assets that belong to the debtor in Spain or in other countries if this is the case. The items of property can also be seized based on an EU court decision. One of our agents who specialize in debt collection in Spain can help individuals recover their due debts and follow through with the seizure process that is part of the enforcement of a court decision.
The recovery of debt is a process that can differ from one case to another and will take place based on the situation of the debtor and the cumulative value of his assets. In Spain, there are some limitations as per the assets that can be seized and these limits generally have to do with the minimum items or assets that are needed by the debtor and his/her family for daily purposes.
The general asset attachment process in Spain
In all cases, the seizure of assets is a process that cannot be excessive or abusive. It must be performed in proportion to the due amount and according to the enforcement that is granted for that case by court order. In principle, the creditor can seize the assets of the debtor as such: cash can be confiscated, current accounts may be closed through a preservation order to the bank, the wages can be subject to a retention order and the securities and other financial instruments can be withheld at source, through a notification sent to the issuing company, stock exchange or regulator. Other types of valuable movable property owned by the debtor can be confiscated.
Special provisions for certain types of assets that can be seized exist in case of wages, pensions or remunerations that do not exceed the minimum wage in Spain. When the debtor’s income from these sources does not exceed the minimum wage, then the pension or salary cannot be seized. When the amount is higher, the seizure of assets is performed according to pre-defined percentages:
- 30%: for amounts only slightly over and up to twice the minimum wage
- 50%: for amounts over twice the minimum wage and up to three times the minimum wage
- 60% for additional amounts and up to four times the minimum wage in Spain
- 75%: for any additional amount and up to the amount of five times the minimum wage
- 90%: for any amount that exceeds the minimum wage by five times
In some situations, the income derived by the spouse can be attached to the seized assets but only in those cases in which there is no express separation of property for the individuals. One of our agents who specialize in debt collection in Spain can provide interested parties with complete information about the seizure of assets when they are co-owned.
Assets that cannot be seized in Spain
The applicable law in Spain states that certain types of assets may not be seized under no conditions. these include the following:
- Inalienable assets: these inalienable assets along with those that, in themselves, have no value cannot be seized.
- Household items: furniture, food, fuel and other items that are essential to the life of the debtor.
- Professional instruments: books and other professional tools and instruments needed by the debtor to exercise his/her professional activity.
- Sacred items: included here are all those sacred items that are used to practice legally registered religions in Spain.
- Others: any amounts that are cannot be seized according to law, ancillary rights that cannot be separated from the main right.
Immovable assets can also be subject to seizure and in this case, the court may require special documents from the Property Register.
The debtor cannot appeal the instrument of enforcement used for the seizure of assets. However, he may object upon the receipt of the enforcement notification. In practice, a waiting period is usually granted before the enforcement is final. This grants the defendant the time to comply with the measures voluntarily.
The types of assets that cannot be seized are deemed to be so for the protection of the debtor, as per the Code of Civil Procedure. One of our debt collection lawyers in Spain can give you more details about specific laws and your rights as the creditor, as well as the rights of the debtor.
The enforcement measures are not subject to a certain validity period and shall remain in force until the process is complete.
Contact us for more information about debt collection in Spain and the services we provide for the purpose of recovering due amounts from debtors.