The best way to understand inheritance laws in Puerto Rico is from hiring a Puerto Rican attorney.

Posted by & filed under Inheritance Law.

Ahh Puerto Rico, you are a beautiful land that is known for your sandy shores, cool breezes and an easy-living way of life. That being said, it’s easy to understand why so many people flock to settle down and raise families in Puerto Rico.

Unfortunately, we all know that we are cursed with mortality – death is the dark alter ego of life and it’s a reality we must all face. When it’s all said and done, you take nothing with you. If you’re not a native Puerto Rican, you might not know that they handle death differently than what you are accustomed too.  Read on to learn inheritance laws that apply in Puerto Rico.

Family First

The biggest difference between Puerto Rican inheritance law and the inheritance laws of the United States is that the inheritance laws in Puerto Rico benefit the family before they benefit the spouse. In other words, it is the blood related family members that automatically receives the benefits from the estate and not the spouse, even regardless of will in certain cases.

In United States, for example, when a married person dies, it is the spouse who receives the benefits to the estate regardless if their name is on the deed or not.  Puerto Rico handles death with a family-based approach. When a Puerto Rican dies, the estate is left into the hands of the relatives and not the spouse.

The spouse will generally receive some portion of the estate; but the title of the estate is usually passed along to the surviving, blood-related family members of the deed holder.

This is important information to consider if you are constructing a will outside of Puerto Rico. Even with a well-written will by a top-notch attorney will have a difficult time holding its weight if constructed outside of Puerto Rico.


They’ll tax you in life as much as they tax you in death. Depending on your circumstance, you can expect to pay anywhere form 18% – 50% in property taxes when you pass on.

If you are a native son or daughter of Puerto Rico, you can expect to pay taxes on all property owned. If you simply own property in Puerto Rico, the tax only applies to that property.

Best Practice

The best way to understand Puerto Rican inheritance law is from hiring a Puerto Rican attorney. The fact of the matter is Puerto Rico handles death based on Spanish laws which is different from American laws. Do you research, hire the right attorney, and your family won’t regret your decision when it’s all said and done.