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What is a Biotestamento (Living Will)?

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BiotestamentoThe Italian Chamber of Deputies has approved the text of a bill on the so-called biotestamento (Living Will). This bill will now be debated in the Senate. A Biotestamento has nothing to do with euthanasia.

Italian legislation on Biotestamento is divided into two parts: the first, more general part, deals with giving informed consent on medical treatments and on filling in DATs (disposizioni anticipate di trattamento, the Italian anticipated instructions for treatment), through which a person may indicate wishes in relation to the medical treatments he/she intends to be subjected to when he/she is no longer conscious due to an accident or to an illness. Read more

Right of Representation in Italian Succession

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Right of Representation in Italian Succession

RepresentationRepresentation is the right of a descendant to replace an ascendant if the latter is unable or unwilling to accept an inheritance or legacy.

In order to take place, it must be based on two premises:

-The ascendant, who does not wish to or is unable to succeed, must legally be entitled to succeed;

-In case of testamentary succession, there must be no other provisions made by the testator which prevail over representation.

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Emphyteusis – What You Should Know

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EmphyteusisIntroduction

A recent topic of discussion is that of Emphyteusis, a regime which has its roots in Roman Law. It formed part of the feudal system and is connected with the agricultural economy. Farmers were offered the possibility to cultivate land thereby sustaining themselves. In return, farmers paid an annual ground rent or canon in money and or in kind. 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

Inheritance Matters

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Inheritance MattersInheritance matters. There is a gentle parody currently doing the rounds. Allegedly, the late lamented Italian novelist, philosopher and interpretive semiotician Umberto Eco has left a Will that neither his lawyers nor beneficiaries can decipher.

Obviously a Will should be accurate, concise and straightforward. Even if your life is highly complex, an experienced lawyer should be able to make sense of your legacies. 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 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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