The word escritura occurs in property transactions frequently also as escritura pública. It simply translates as a notarised document. It is the notarised property sales contract. This notarised sales contract has the same function in Spanish legal transactions as a document of ownership. This viewpoint, while not entirely correct, serves as a useful paradigm. Do not confuse Escritura with a Private


The word juzgado (= court) emerges in various contracts, for example with matters of jurisdiction. For preliminary legal proceedings, it often takes three or more years to receive a judgement.
After preliminary legal proceedings, independent of the amount in dispute, then there is the court of the second instance (audiencia provincial) for the cases on appeal. It can take up to five years before a decision is delivered, including Appeal cases. Because there is no enforceable reimbursement scheme for Costs in Spain, it can happen that with no clear win you must pay your own lawyers and also court costs.

declaración de defunción oder partida de defunción: (= death certificate)

As mentioned above there is a difference between the national death certificate and the international (multilingual) death certificate. For Spain the international death certificate should be always requested following the convention of Vienna(1976). Can be obtained for a small fee at your local registry office.


The word is used in Spain for property plot (also solar). It is also used to describe small country house or farm houses.

la legítma

This document is an entitlement to a part of the inheritance, whether or not the person is mentioned in the will. In other words, certain reletives may not be excluded.


Means property (or plot), see above solar and finca. It is used, however, mostly only in building law. The plots are simply divided and numbered in a new construction site. This number can later become the house number.

registro civil

The Spanish registry office, with which births, deaths and weddings are registered and which is controlled by the local district court. Here you can also get the international personal status document described in the convention of Vienna (1976) in official European languages, needing neither translation nor Apostille.

registro central de actos de última voluntad

The Spanish central registry in Madrid for all decisions pertaining to inheritance. In case of death in Spain of a property owner, this office will provide information on any existing will. This is required in order to make the relevant changes to the Registry. Using a Spanish Notary, probate can proceed, when the certificate of Absence applies, using the Inheritance certificate of the home country of the deceased, officially translated and sealed by Apostille.

registro central inmobiliario

The central Spanish property registry in Madrid. All registered property owners are listed here, showing name and location. Lawyers, or other authorised individuals may receive information from the registry, usually within 24 hours.


This is simply an easement, for example a right of way, water right or height restriction, binding the property owner and their successors.

usufructo (= usufructary)

The legal right to use and enjoy the advantages or profits of another’s property

cuerpo cierto

Means that a property is sold as seen. While no accurate square meter measurement is given, borders are described with trees and wall lines. For those wishing to know exactly, a land measurement appraisal can be carried out, otherwise the buyer is responsible for any variation. Do not be surprised at differences in measurements held by the different Land Registry offices. When applying for building permission, use the most favourable measurement.

número de finca (= Finca number)

This is the number used in the Land Registry to describe the property and has nothing to do with the parcela or plot number for building purposes , nor with the number used ate the Catastral Land registry

referencia catastral (= Land registry reference number)

This is the number used in the Catastral land registry to describe the property or the apartment for land registry purposes and is not the parcela plot number. Unfortunately, the numbers are not the same, making it sometimes difficult to differentiate