Testamentary Succession in Italy

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testamentary successionItalian inheritance law dates back to the Roman Law tradition. It is based on the principle that the deceased’s close family members merit special protection. This partially limits the right of the testator to dispose of assets entirely as he/she wishes.

Testamentary succession can be defined as the assignment of hereditary assets, the estate, of a deceased testator in compliance with the decisions of the testator as set out in an Italian Will. A Will is a legal document drafted and signed by the decedent through which disposal of an estate is determined following death. Read more

Do you, or your family, own Italian assets?

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Italian assetsIf you, or your family, own Italian assets, it is advisable to research and prepare for the future of those Italian assets. You can watch our short video on this subject here: http://bit.ly/1VDqOnY

Inheritance and probate laws vary from country to country and it is unlikely that the Italian assets will be subject to the same procedures and laws as the assets at home. Read more

Why is it worth drafting an Italian Will?

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Why is it worth drafting an Italian Will?

Be sure to prevent any problem!

It is generally recommended that foreign citizens owning assets in Italy draft an Italian Will. This will prevent significant difficulties that heirs might experience when transferring the ownership of Italian properties originally registered in the name of the testator. Under Italian law, all foreign Wills must be authenticated by an Italian Public Notary before going through the Italian probate process.

 

Italian WillAlthough, generally speaking, Italy recognises the validity of international Wills, it is advisable for non-Italian citizens to draft an Italian Will if you own property on Italian territory (house or land). Managing documents drafted in a foreign language (and governed by different legal jurisdictions) in Italy can raise a number of difficulties. As a matter of fact, the Notary will not publish or legalise documents drafted in a foreign language unless they have been translated into Italian by a certified and qualified translator. Read more

Millions of Britons do not have a Will

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The majority of Britons have not written a Will, according to research from the Law Society.50652_fullimage_istock_000067974129_xxxlarge

The representative body for solicitors has now warned that the consequences of dying without a valid will can be dire for those left behind.

The research revealed that 73 per cent of 16-54 year olds don’t have a Will, while 64 per cent of people over the age of 55 have made their final wishes clear in a will. The research also found that men are more likely to have a Will and keep it updated than women. Read more

Power of Attorney

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ImmagineAs a solicitor, I am often engaged to act on behalf of my clients in very important legal matters. My clients trust me, my knowledge and experience to handle their affairs by giving me a Power of Attorney. You may have heard of a Power of Attorney, but do you know exactly what its purpose is or when it is used?

In order to shed a little light on the subject, here are a few basic facts about a Power of Attorney together with the legal ramifications as they pertain to purchasing and/or inheriting real estate property in Italy Read more

Cross-Border Inheritance Law (Brussel IV)

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Cross-Border Inheritance Law. How Does New EU Succession Legislation Impact You?

This article looks at the new EU Law 650/2012, also known as the Brussels IV Regulation, which came in to effect on 17th August 2015.

Although the UK, Denmark and Ireland have opted out of participating in Brussels IV, there are still implications for nationals of these countries who reside in a participating EU Member State or have a connection to a participating EU Member State, for example a holiday home.

Cross-Border Inheritance LawPrior to the introduction of Brussels IV, each EU jurisdiction applied its own rules to govern the devolution of individuals’ property. For individuals with assets in more than one country, various Connecting Factors were considered such as domicile, residence, nationality or habitual residence, in order to determine which country laws should apply to an individual’s estate. In addition, for some EU states, applicable succession law depended upon whether the assets were immovable (property and land) or movable (bank accounts, vehicles, furniture, jewellery and so on). The fact that each jurisdiction applied different Connecting Factors often led to costly, lengthy and complex conflicts of laws. Read more

Unclaimed Italian Properties: Overview

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What does ‘Unclaimed Italian Properties’ mean? Between 1861 and 1985 over 29 million Italians emigrated to other countries. About 18 million permanently settled abroad, predominantly in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina. In 2011, there were 4,115,235 Italian citizens living outside Italy and several tens of millions of descendants of Italians, who emigrated in the last two centuries.Unclaimed Italian Properties

When Italian emigrants went abroad, they often left property and land in Italy. It is a myth that this property was confiscated by the Italian State. The reality is that the property is still here in Italy, unclaimed, and the original owners, deceased many years ago, are still on the title deeds. There are many thousands of these properties and parcels of land across Italy and in many cases the descendants of emigrants living outside Italy could still claim them. Over the years, I have been contacted for help and advice by many descendants of Italian emigrants who want to find their ancestors’ property in Italy. In some cases, people come to me after spending considerable time, and substantial amounts of money. Read more

The New 2015 European Inheritance Rules

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European Inheritance Rules

Action should be taken now to benefit from the new 2015 European Inheritance Rules. According to The European Commission some 450,000 cross-border successions occur in the EU each year, estimated to be worth in excess of €120 billion. As it stands, many countries in the EU, including Italy, have laws governing ‘forced heirships’ along with different opinions as to whether inheritance is dealt with under local law, or the law of the nationality of the deceased. To somewhat solve this confusion and prevent disputes, effective August 17th 2015 new rules will allow individuals across participating EU member states to choose which country jurisdiction will apply to the devolution of estates. Read more

Italian succession law

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Italian succession law

How does it work?

Italian succession law is based on the Roman Law principle which gives some protection to close members of the family, partially limiting the right of the testator to dispose of his/her own assets.  Testamentary Succession is defined as the assignment of the hereditary assets in compliance with the wishes of the testator as set out in an Italian Will whereas in the absence of a Will inheritance is devolved following the principles of Legal Succession.

Where there is no will, succession law gives rights to a number of legitimate heirs who have rights to the assets of the deceased. Such heirs are the spouse of the deceased and the relatives identified by the law starting from the closer ones until the 6th degree of connection.

Italian succession law reserves a significant quota of the inheritance to very close relatives: spouse, ascendants and descendants are all defined as “forced heirs”, meaning that the testator cannot exclude them with their Will. When drafting an Italian will, the testator is free to dispose of a part of his assets known as “disposable quota”. This allows the testator to assign only part of their assets to strangers or non-relatives.

Succession law is based on unity of inheritance which highlights the difference between property and non-property assets: the law of the last domicile or citizenship of the deceased party is applicable to non-property assets, while the law of the country where the property is located is applied to property assets. Therefore, properties in different countries will be regulated by the law of the country where each property is located.  The succession procedure is deemed to be closed when all assets, rights and pending payments have been transferred to the rightful heirs either by mutual agreement or as consequence of judicial proceedings. Agreement of inheritance is then produced in written form and signed by the relevant parties.

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Italian inheritance law regulation

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What are the principles at the basis of Italian inheritance law?

The law n.218 of the 31st of May 1995 regulates the field of Italian inheritance law in the framework of international private law.

The succession rules are determined on the basis of the national law of the deceased party at the moment of his death.italian inheritance law

The Italian legislator adopted the principle of “unity of inheritance”. This principle differs substantially from the one adopted in common law countries. It is based on the separation between non-property assets and property assets: to non-property assets the law of the last domicile or last citizenship of the deceased party is applicable, and to property assets the so called “lex rei sitae” (law of the country where the property is located). One of the most important consequences is that, if the hereditary asset includes properties located in different states, the succession of each single property could be regulated by the law of the country where the property is located.

The law regulating the succession is the national law of the deceased at the time of his death. The Italian rules on conflict of laws consider the possibility that the national law of a deceased foreigner might defer to the law of another country. Such deferment is effective only if the law of the third State accepts the deferment. Here is a practical example: if a British citizen before his death left some properties in Italy, the succession will be regulated by the British law. But following the British “conflict law” the law applicable to properties should be the “lex rei sitae (law of the country where the property is located), that is/viz., the Italian inheritance law.

The testator has the right to submit his succession to the law of the country where he resides. Such choice has to be formally expressed in a will and shall not be prejudicial of the rights that the Italian law provides for the so called legittimari” ( members of the family who have the right to receive a fixed part of the property of the deceased even against the will) who are resident in Italy at the moment of death of the deceased.

It is highly advisable to draft an Italian will assisted by your Italian  inheritance lawyer in order to limit the consequences of the “legal succession”. The “legal succession” applies where the deceased has not left a will, in such case the Italian law determines which relatives of the deceased have a right to succeed (primarily the spouse, the legitimate and natural children, and the ascendants). In case of lack of heirs, according to the Italian inheritance law, the hereditary assets present in Italy would be assigned to the Italian State.

Please note, any statement made in this article is intended to be a general practical introductory explanation only and not formal legal advice. This firm accepts no liability or any responsibility for any statement made.

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