If I have a property, how does Italian Inheritance Law affect me?
If you own an Italian property, Italian inheritance law will affect you by regulating who can inherit your assets.
Will my spouse automatically inherit our home in Italy after my death?
According to Italian law, your spouse will be entitled to a share of your inheritance, together with other close family members. If you want your spouse to inherit full ownership of an Italian property, you will need to do so by drafting an Italian will.
What will happen to my Italian property if I don’t have an Italian Will?
If you own an Italian property you might wish to dispose of it drafting an Italian Will. Alternatively, in case of intestate succession (succession without a Will), the property will be assigned in compliance with the rules of Italian succession law.
I have a non-Italian Will (e.g. English, Canadian, American etc.). Is it valid in Italy?
In order to answer this question, it will be necessary to examine your non-Italian Will. However, in order to ensure that the Will generates effects in Italy, it should first be probated in the applicable jurisdiction. Then the Will needs to be translated, by a sworn translator, into Italian and finally lodged with the competent authorities in Italy.
Who are possible heirs to my property when I die?
In case of intestate succession (succession without a Will), heirs are determined by the Italian law. They are the spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, brothers, other family members.
According to Italian succession law, who are heirs entitled to a reserved quota?
According to Italian law, the spouse, children (both natural and adopted) and parents are entitled to a reserved quota of your assets.
What happens when an individual entitled to a reserved quota dies before the testator?
In such case, you have a succession by representation, or succession per stirpes. This means that the descendant of the pre-deceased individual acquires the same inheritance rights of his/her ascendant.
What happens if the testator infringes the reserved quota?
It is possible to challenge the Will in the Italian courts applying for abatement of the legacies.
When somebody dies, what happens to his/her bank accounts?
Once a bank is notified of the death of an account holder, the decedent’s bank accounts are frozen and can be disposed of by the heirs only at the end of the succession procedure.
When should I manage the succession or probate in Italy?
According to Italian law, this should happen within twelve months following death. Failing to do so will expose the heirs to fines.
I am a joint beneficiary of some Italian assets. How can I sell my quota?
According to Italian law, it is possible to apply for a division of the inherited assets. If this cannot happen amicably by means of an agreement with the other joint heirs, it will be necessary to apply for a judicial division in Court.
Can anybody make a Will?
To make a Will a testator must be at least 18 years old. There is no upper age limit for making a Will. A Will may be made or altered as long as the testator is of sound mind.
A person who has been made subject to judicial disability on grounds of infirmity of mind, loses the right to make a Will. If a Will is made in these circumstances, it can be contested by any interested party for up to five years from the date of execution of the testamentary dispositions. However, the Will remains in force until such time as it is declared legally invalid.
Is there any assets exempt from the payment of inheritance taxes?
Yes, there are. These are treasury bonds, family companies, retirement allowances, surrendered insurance policies.
How can I find out if a Will exists?
If it is deemed that someone had a Formal or Holographic Will, which was deposited with a Public Notary, a request with a death certificate attached can be submitted to the District Chamber of Notaries (Consiglio Notarile distrettuale), which will forward a search request to all Public Notaries within a district. It is also advisable to submit a request to the Notary Archives Registry Office, in charge of keeping the deeds and wills deposited by the notaries who have ceased business. The General Will Registry Bureau (Registro Generale dei Testamenti), whose headquarters are at the Main Office of the Notary Archives (Ufficio Centrale degli Archivi Notarili) in Rome, can also be consulted.
The General Will Registry Bureau provides the possibility to find out if the deceased had a Will or not, whether in Italy or abroad. The request for the issuance of a decedent’s Will can also be submitted through the Bureau, to the relevant entity of a foreign country which has adhered to the International Basel Convention. Other than Italy, the countries which have signed the Basel Convention are: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.
Interested parties may request a subscription certificate, in the name of the deceased, from the General Will Registry Bureau, as well as the reference to the district notary archive where the Will was deposited, in case the notary has ceased business.