About the Usufruct

1. General information

2. The duties of the usufructuary

3. Types of usufruct 

1. General information

The usufruct is the right of enjoying a thing, the property of which is vested in another person, and to draw from this all the utilities which it may produce, provided that it is being done without altering the substance of the thing.

The usufructuary neither can sell the thing nor place a lien upon it. The owner of the thing subject to usufruct cannot use it.

The right of usufruct is extinguished in the following cases:


 

  • When the usufructuary dies or acquires the property of the thing subject to usufruct.
  • When the usufruct is repudiated.
  • When the thing subject to usufruct is lost.
  • When the thing is not used within 6 years, if it is a movable effect, or within 30 years when it is an estate.


 

Once the right of usufruct finishes, the usufructuary shall return the thing subject to the usufruct to his owner.


 

2. The duties of the usufructuary

The duties of the usufructuary are the following:


 

  • To make an inventory of the things subject to the usufruct and value them. Should he not comply with this duty, he may be forbidden the use of the thing.
  • To secure the things subject to the usufruct by guaranteeing them from the responsibilities caused by loosing or damaging them. Should he not comply with this duty, he may be forbidden the use of the thing.
  • Take good care of the things subject to the usufruct.
  • To keep the thing in repair at his own expense.
  • To pay all taxes and liens which arise while the thing is in his possession, for example the real estate tax.


 

3. Types of usufruct

There exist two kinds of usufructs:

Voluntary usufruct: The parties agree the usufruct in a written contract or a will.

Legal usufruct: the law provides it. That is the case of the usufruct that the surviving spouse receives of the estate's distribution.

These are only general guidelines and not definitive statements of the law, all questions about the law's applications to individual cases shall be directed to a Spanish lawyer.