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Understanding the meaning of usufruct and bare ownership


Often clients seek for other types of buying structures, usually due to tax-saving purposes.

One of the main alternatives to acquire a property rather than doing so in the usual way (as an individual or group of people) is buying it using the usufruct/bare ownership structure.

It is fundamental to understand the meaning of both terms and what they imply;

  • Usufruct: is the legal right of use and enjoy the property that is granted to a person. It can either be conferred for a limited time period or for life, meaning that it will only be terminated when the beneficial owner dies.
  • Bare ownership: is the right to dispose of the property without possessing it.

The aforementioned structure is mainly used by parents who buy the property in the name of their children and they keep the right to use and enjoy the property for themselves. Therefore, the children will have the “bare ownership” and the parents will keep the “usufruct” of the property.

From a tax’s perspective, there are two different times when tax will be paid;

  • When acquiring the property, transfer tax will be calculated depending on the value given to both; the bare ownership and the usufruct.
  • When the usufruct finishes, transfer tax will have to be paid but only for the percentage that the usufruct represented. Please bear in mind that the property’s value considered for this tax, will be the actual one when the consolidation of the ownership takes place.


The value of the usufruct is calculated in the following way: REST to number “89” the age of the beneficial owner (if there are 2 beneficial owners, the age of the youngest).

If you have any doubts or queries about the legal or tax implications of the structure, please do not hesitate to contact us.