Donation - Jesús Benavides Notary Office
Inheritance and donations


Step 1

What is a donation?

A donation is an act by which a person who is the owner of an asset, called the donor, transfers the ownership of said asset to another person, called the donee, who accepts it, without receiving anything in return.

Step 3

How much does it cost to make a notarized donation?

See indicative budget - Real estateSee indicative budget - Money, vehicle or other

This is a merely informative and non-binding estimate. This estimate is calculated based on two criteria: 1) our knowledge of the Notarial Tariff and 2) our daily experience in the preparation of this type of notarial document. (Royal Decree 1426/1989, November 17, 1989). and 2) our daily experience in the preparation of this type of notarial document. However, any variation (upward or downward) will be duly justified at the time of issuing the final invoice for the notarial service rendered.

Step 4

More frequently asked questions

What is a donation?

A donation is an act by which a person, who is called the donor, freely decides, with respect to one or more of the assets that make up his estate, to transfer ownership of the same, without receiving a consideration in exchange, in favor of a third party (who is called the donee), who accepts it. 

Thus, in short, the donor, by way of mere liberality, impoverishes his estate in favor of the donee, who receives an asset and immediately integrates it into his estate once he accepts the donation, which may be of any kind, such as real estate, a vehicle, a painting, money, etc., without giving anything in return.

<ejemplo>Así pues, por ejemplo, si una madre quiere ayudar a su hijo a que éste adquiera una vivienda, puede donarle una cantidad de dinero, por ejemplo 50.000€, para que éste pueda abonar la entrada de un piso, de tal modo que esta madre da a su hijo la cantidad de dinero indicada, la cual es aceptada por este hijo, sin que la madre reciba nada a cambio como contraprestación.<ejemplo>

As a fundamental characteristic of ordinary donations, it is important to point out that these are inter vivos acts, that is to say, between living persons, and that likewise, for the donation to take effect, it must be accepted by the donee.

<ejemplo>Así pues, por ejemplo, si un familiar nos quiere donar una vivienda cuyo estado de conservación es muy deficiente, de modo que su rehabilitación nos costará mucho dinero, podemos decidir que no queremos aceptar dicha donación, pues no es conveniente para nuestros intereses, de modo que la vivienda en cuestión no se integrará en nuestro patrimonio pese a la voluntad del donante.<ejemplo>

From a legal point of view, a donation is an act by which the donor disposes, free of charge, of an asset in favor of the donees, who acquire it if they accept it during the donor's lifetime (article 531-7 of the Civil Code of Catalonia).

What is a donation for?

A donation serves, as has been indicated, to transfer the ownership of an asset from one person to another, without any consideration in exchange. Thus, it is an instrument that allows to carry out what is legally called "gratuitous business", that is, the possibility of giving something to someone, without receiving anything in return.

In view of the above, donation is an appropriate remedy when certain persons, based on a relationship of affection, kinship, friendship, gratitude, etc., wish to give an asset of their property to a third party, without giving anything in return.

<ejemplo>Por ejemplo, si Ana ha sufrido una grave enfermedad, y un amigo suyo ha estado a su lado y le ha ayudado a sobrellevar la situación y reponerse de la misma, Ana, como muestra de gratitud, puede decidir donar a Juan un coche que es de su propiedad, como muestra de agradecimiento por toda la ayuda prestada, sin que desee recibir nada a cambio.<ejemplo>

What kind of donations are there?

From a legal point of view, we can differentiate between two main types of donations, that is:

The so-called donations between living persons, i.e., those in which the donor and the donee are living persons. In this case, the main characteristic is that the donation takes effect from the moment it is made and accepted by the donee.

And, secondly, the so-called donations due to death, i.e., a type of donation in which the transfer of ownership of the property does not occur immediately, but is deferred until the donor's death. 

For more details, please visit the section of this website related to donations upon death.

Who has the capacity to grant and accept a donation?

For a person to be able to make a donation, that is, to act as a donor, the law has two requirements:

In the first place, they must have sufficient capacity to act, which in the Spanish legal system is fully achieved when a person reaches the age of majority, i.e., when he/she reaches the age of eighteen.

He must also have the capacity and power to dispose of the property given, that is to say, it must belong to him and be in his power.

<ejemplo>Así pues, para que Laura pueda donar un a Francisco un valioso cuadro de su propiedad es necesario que ésta sea mayor de edad, que dicha obra pictórica le pertenezca y que la posesión de este cuadro se halle en su poder.<ejemplo>

Having said that, as regards the capacity of the donee, that is, the person who receives the donation and who must accept it, the law requires that they simply have natural capacity, that is, the psychic capacity to understand the legal nature of the act being performed and the consequences deriving therefrom.

<ejemplo>Así pues, si un padre realiza una donación de 10.000 euros a favor de su hijo de 16 años, si este tiene sus capacidades psíquicas en plenas facultades, y puede comprender las características y consecuencias del acto, dicho hijo puede aceptar la donación que le realiza su padre.<ejemplo>

Notwithstanding this general principle, it is no less true that the Catalan Civil Code determines that if the donated property is subject to encumbrances, charges or modes, and the donee is a person subject to parental authority or some measure of complementary capacity, in such a case, the donation must be accepted with the intervention or assistance of the persons exercising such offices.

What types of assets can be donated?

In principle, you can donate any kind of property, whether movable or immovable(for example, a computer or a parking space, respectively), provided, of course:

  • Said property belongs to the donee (since logically you cannot give to a third party something that does not belong to you).
  • And that what is donated be a certain and determined good, that is, a good that really exists and that can be identified and individualized (since, logically, one cannot give something that does not exist or that cannot be distinguished). 

Is the act of donation subject to any kind of form requirement?

In accordance with Catalan civil legislation, in relation to the form that a donation must take in order to be valid, it is necessary to take into account the following issues:

  • When the donated property is real estate, the donation must be formalized in a public deed, and the acceptance of the donee must also be recorded in a public deed (if the acceptance is formalized in a subsequent deed or by means of a deed of accession, the donors must be duly notified of this circumstance).
  • En el caso de bienes muebles (como por ejemplo un cuadro de valor, o dinero), es necesario que la donación se formalice por escrito.

    <ejemplo>No obstante, en el caso de los bienes muebles, las donaciones también se podrán realizar verbalmente, pero sólo serán válidas si simultáneamente se entrega el bien dado (salvo en el caso de las donaciones que se realizan con motivos de colectas públicas de carácter benéfico, cuya entrega puede diferirse a un momento posterior).<ejemplo>

In any case, in the cases in which it is not strictly obligatory, the donation can also be formalized in a public deed. This will be highly recommended especially in those cases in which the donated property has a certain economic value, because when a Notary Public intervenes, the act will be endowed with much more legal security, since it will be authorized by a notary public, that is to say, a public official, legal professional, specialist in matters of private law, who will be able to adequately advise all the parties and watch over their rights and legitimate interests.

Does the donor of an asset have to guarantee the conformity of what has been donated?

When a person receives a donated good, he may ask himself the question of whether such good is in a perfect state of conservation that allows a normal and adequate use of the same or, on the contrary, if it presents any defect, flaw or damage, in which case he may claim responsibility for it from the donor.

<ejemplo>Así pues, si por ejemplo Montserrat dona a una sobrina suya, llamada Mar, un coche de su propiedad de 20 años de antigüedad, si a los pocos días de disfrutar del mismo, el vehículo se avería y su reparación cuesta 1.000€, Mar se puede plantar si dicha reparación debe ser abonada o no por su tía Montserrat.<ejemplo>

In relation to this question, it is necessary to point out that the law makes it clear that donors must not guarantee either the legal defects or the material defects of the donated goods.

<ejemplo>Siguiendo pues el ejemplo propuesto, Montserrat no deberá abonar importe alguno por la reparación del coche donado a su sobrina.<ejemplo>

However, if the donor gives the property knowing that it does not belong to him, or that it has hidden defects, in such a case he must compensate the donee for the damages suffered.

<ejemplo>En nuestro ejemplo, si Montserrat fuera conocedora de que el vehículo donado presentaba una avería grave y se lo ocultó a su sobrina, si ésta puede acreditar que ello es así, podrá exigir a su tía que abone la reparación de dicha avería que se le ha ocultado y que ha viciado su consentimiento al aceptar la donación de este coche.<ejemplo>

Are the donated assets released from the donor's debts?

In relation to this question, it is necessary to know that article 531-14 of the Catalan Civil Code establishes that the creditors of the donors will not be prejudiced by the donations granted by them after the date of the event or act from which the credit arises, if there are no other resources to collect it.

Thus, in the event that a person has debts, and after these debts have arisen, donates one or part of his assets to third parties, if the creditors of such debts, with the assets of the donor cannot collect their debt, they may also try to collect their credit through these donated assets, even if they no longer belong to the donor.

<ejemplo>De modo que, por ejemplo, si el señor Óscar debe 100.000 euros de un préstamo que contrajo en 2018, posteriormente, en 2020, dona una vivienda de su propiedad a su hija, si durante el año 2021 el señor Óscar deja de pagar su préstamo, y no tiene más bienes en su patrimonio con el que responder de la deuda, como la misma es anterior a la donación, el banco podrá proceder, por las vías legales que correspondan (por ejemplo, tratando de obtener el embargo judicial de la vivienda) para recuperar su deuda, aunque la vivienda ya no pertenezca al Sr. Óscar en ese momento.<ejemplo>

Can donations be subject to the fulfillment of a condition or deadline?

Indeed, the law allows donations, if the donor so wishes, to be subject to conditions or terms to be determined.

Thus, for example, a father can donate to his son the amount of 50,000 euros:

  • Conditional on the latter being able to complete his or her university studies;
  • Or on the condition that he does not fail the selectivity to which he will be submitted next June.

In these cases, the complete acquisition of the donated property will be subject to the donee complying with the condition or term imposed, so that if the donee executes the burden imposed within the established term (if any), he will become full owner of the donated property, while if he does not do so, he will have to return the donated property to the donor.

<ejemplo>Siguiendo pues los ejemplos anteriores, en caso de que el hijo que ha recibido esos 50.000€ no acabe sus estudios, o no apruebe el examen de selectividad, deberá retornar este dinero a su padre.<ejemplo>

In any case, it is necessary to know that:

  • In case the condition is of a suspensive nature, the fruits and incomes of the donated property will belong to the donor.

    Thus, in the example of the donation conditioned to the completion of studies, during all the years that the son takes to finish his university degree, all the interests generated by those €50,000 will belong to the donor father.
  • In case the condition is of a resolutory nature (or the donation has been subject to a term), until the expiration of the term or fulfillment of the condition, the fruits and incomes will belong to the donee or his successors.

    On the other hand, if the donation is conditioned to the child not failing the entrance exam, even if he/she does not pass the exam, all the interests generated by the 50,000 Euros from the donation until the failure, will belong to the donee child.

In addition, it is also possible for the donor to impose on the donee burdens or modes, i.e., obligations that must be fulfilled for the donation to be fully effective. Thus, a parent may donate to a child:

  • 50,000, on the condition that it is used to purchase a primary residence.
  • Or a dwelling, on the condition that it allows a close relative to live in the same dwelling for a period of 2 years.

What is a gift with a reversion clause?

A donation with a reversion clause is one in which the donor determines that the donated property will return to his estate, once a certain condition or term to be determined is fulfilled.

<ejemplo>Así pues, el señor Miguel puede dar una vivienda a su hija Laura, por un plazo de 10 años, con cláusula de reversión, de modo que, transcurrido este plazo, la propiedad del inmueble retorne al señor Miguel.<ejemplo>

<ejemplo>O en su caso, el señor Miguel puede donar una vivienda a su hija Laura con la condición de que ésta cuide de su otra hermana María (que padece una minusvalía), sujetando todo ello a una cláusula de reversión, de modo que, si la señora Laura deja de atender y cuidar a su hermana María, la propiedad de la vivienda vuelva al señor Miguel.<ejemplo>

In these cases, it is necessary to point out that:

  • The reversion clause may provide for the donated property to be reintegrated in the estate of the donor himself, in that of his spouse, in that of his heirs or even by a third person to be designated.
  • The donor, at any time, may revoke or modify the reversion clause established, leaving it without effect or designating a new acquirer of the assets given.

What is a gift with reservation of the power to dispose?

This is a type of donation in which the donor, despite donating the ownership of the property to the donee, reserves for himself the possibility of disposing of the donated property at the time he deems appropriate.

Thus, if the donor exercises this possibility, the donation will be terminated, so that the donor may sell the property and take ownership of the price obtained for such sale.

<ejemplo>Así pues, por ejemplo, si la Sra. Carla dona a su hijo Marc un inmueble, pero en la donación se incluye una cláusula de reserva de facultad de disposición, si la Sra. Carla llega un momento que necesita dinero, puede hacer uso de la misma, de modo que estará facultada para resolver la donación, vender esa vivienda y quedarse con el dinero que se obtenga de la venta.<ejemplo>

Can a donation be revoked?

As indicated in the initial questions, donations, in order to take effect, must be accepted by the donee, so that only when such acceptance occurs is the legal act perfected.

Thus, on this basis, those interested in this type of legal act should know that once the donation is accepted by the donee, and such acceptance is known by the donor, the general rule is that it is irrevocable.

However, it is no less true that to this general rule, there are a series of exceptions established by law, which, for the sake of clarity, will be discussed in a later question.

<ejemplo>Por consiguiente, por ejemplo, si la Sra. María comparece en una Notaría para donar una vivienda que es de su propiedad a una sobrina, y dicha sobrina, en el mismo acto notarial, acepta la donación a su presencia, dicha donación deviene irrevocable, de modo que la Sra. María no podrá, posteriormente, arrepintiéndose de este acto, tratar de dejar sin efecto esta donación, salvo que concurra alguna de las causas excepcionales que prevé la ley, las cuales se expondrán más adelante.<ejemplo>

In the case that the donated good is a movable good and the donation is made verbally, once the delivery of the good takes place, the donation becomes irrevocable, unless one of the exceptional causes that will be discussed below occurs.

<ejemplo>Así pues, si Juan, verbalmente, acuerda con Marcos donarle un teléfono móvil de su propiedad, en cuanto Juan se lo entrega físicamente a Marcos y este acepta la donación, de tal modo que este último ya tiene el teléfono en su poder, dicha donación deviene irrevocable, de modo que, aunque posteriormente Juan se arrepienta de este acto, no podrá dejar sin efecto la donación para recuperar el teléfono, pues este ya será de Marcos.<ejemplo>

Finally, it should be noted that in the event that the donation is motivated by a public or charitable collection, the law determines that the donation is irrevocable from the very moment in which the will to give is publicly manifested.

When can a donation be revoked?

Indeed, as indicated in the preceding question, the general rule is that donations, once they have been accepted by the donees, are irrevocable. However, the law establishes a series of exceptions in which, if it will be possible to proceed to the revocation of the donation, that is:

  • Survival of donor offspring, even if the donors had children previously.
  • Survival of children of donors who were thought to be dead.
  • Failure of donors to comply with the charges imposed by the donors on the grantees.
  • Ingratitude of the donee (ingratitude being understood as acts of a criminal nature perpetrated by the donee against the person or property of the donor, his children or spouse, as well as those that, in general, represent a conduct in relation to the same persons that is not socially accepted).
  • Donor poverty (i.e., donors' lack of financial means to support themselves).

Thus, for example, if Mrs. Andrea has donated a house to her son Jordi, and subsequently he has assaulted her (this being proven in a final criminal sentence), or Mrs. Andrea loses her job and finds herself in a very difficult economic situation, in such a case she can request the revocation of the donation of this house made at the time in favor of her son Jordi.

In these cases, it is necessary to take into account that:

  • The law grants a period of one year to legally request the revocation of the donation, from the time the cause for the revocation occurs.
  • The anticipated waiver of revocation is null and void.

Is it possible to donate an asset to several donees?

Of course, it is possible for a donor to donate an asset he owns to several donees.

<ejemplo>Así pues, por ejemplo, la señora Isabel puede donar una vivienda de su propiedad a sus tres hijos, de forma que éstos se convertirán en los propietarios de un 33,3% de la vivienda, cada uno de ellos.<ejemplo>

In these cases, the law determines that if it is not specified which portion is donated to each donee, the donation is understood to be made in equal parts and, in the event that any of the donees does not accept it, his part will be credited proportionally to that of the rest.

<ejemplo>Siguiendo el ejemplo propuesto, si uno de los hijos no acepta su parte, la misma se distribuirá de forma equitativa entre los dos hijos, de modo que éstos serán propietarios de la vivienda al 50%.<ejemplo>

What kind of representations are to be made in the deed of gift?

In the deed of donation, the donor, the current owner of the property being donated, will state that he is donating this property as a mere liberality, that is to say, without receiving anything in return, in favor of a third person, who is called the donee, accepting this donation.

Must the donor and donee appear jointly in the deed of sale?

Although it is advisable, since the unity of the act will provide more clarity and legal certainty for all the parties to the act of donation, this is not obligatory, so that the donor may grant the public deed of donation and, later, on another day, the donee may accept the same in another public deed (even before another Notary), but in such case, said acceptance must be reliably notified to the donor.

Who must pay the costs derived from the deed of gift?

In principle, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the expenses derived from the formalization of a deed of gift will correspond to the donee, that is to say, to the person who will receive the donated property.

What taxes will the donee have to pay?

Last but not least, those interested in formalizing a deed of gift should be aware that this type of act is subject to taxation, specifically under the provisions of Law 29/1987, of December 18, 1987, on Inheritance and Gift Tax.

In relation to this tax, it is necessary to indicate that it is levied on acquisitions by individuals derived from any legal transaction carried out between living persons free of charge, i.e., a donation.

Having said this, it is necessary to indicate that the taxable base of the tax will be the net value of the donated goods(for example, in the case of a house, if its market value is 200,000€, this will be the taxable base), to which a series of reductions foreseen by the regulation will have to be applied (for kinship, degree of disability, etc.), to finally apply the rate and the multiplying coefficients foreseen by the regulation for the specific case, depending on the value of the donated goods.

Likewise, interested parties should bear in mind that as the Inheritance and Gift Tax is assigned to the Autonomous Communities, each territory has its own regulations that must be taken into account.

In any case, in view of the complexity of the tax, if you consider the possibility of granting a deed of donation, when you contact our notary office to know all the details of the process, we will provide you with a personalized quote, including the tax cost of such donation.

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