Where do you turn to when looking for professional help?
There are a good number of people who provide ‘services’, but who are in fact not fully legal to do so. And of course then you have those who are legal, but give incorrect advice, either because they have not kept up-to-date with current regulations (which can quickly change here), or they’re advising in an area that is not of their expertise. We ourselves have received good, bad and incorrect advice from all three of the main professional services. So it can be quite hard to find a good professional.
Gestor means manager, and you sometimes hear Gestoria, which means management. These are people that deal with every day life and take the hassle out of obtaining various standard paperwork. More often than not they can deal with most paperwork, and some gestors work in conjunction with qualified abogados and/or asesorias, whom they can fall back on when necessary.
An abogado is the equivalent of a British solicitor, that is, they deal with the legal side of things. Just the same as in the UK, different abogados specialise in different areas of the law. The most common ones for the British tend to be those dealing with purchasing a property.
An asesoria is perhaps the most important professional, and are equivalent to an accountant in the UK. However, here they do not have to be qualified and anybody can set themselves up and say they are an asesoria. Their expertise also varies from simple book-keeping to fiscal (tax) advisor and qualified accountant.
The Notary is a highly qualified civil servant of importance within the Spanish legal system. It is their profession that draws up contracts, checks that dealings between people meet legal requirements, authenticate public documents, and a lot more. The most common reasons you might be taken to a notary is for completing a house purchase or making a will.