Italian Property Research



The Italian Civil Code establishes that after the demise of relatives holding title to assets in Italy, irrespective of their nationality and living anywhere in the world, the subject of succession law (called "inheritance") and the subsequent rights of heirs. Italian law imposes what may be called "forced heirship", a term implying that specific relatives, including those not holding Italian citizenship, are entitled to a fixed proportion of a decedent's estate.

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There are three scenarios that describe variations on the theme of succession:

Legal Succession (or Intestate Succession)
The Legal Succession applies where the deceased has not left a will; in this case, it is the law that establishes who is to inherit the decedent's estate. Successors in title (children or grandchildren) or relatives in ascending line (parents or grandparents) up to the sixth degree may participate, including illegitimate children.
Testamentary Succession (deceased with a will)
Testamentary Succession applies when the deceased leaves a will in which the heirship follows the distribution of assets as mandated by law. The rights of the heirs are also indefeasible by law. The will must be drawn up in writing ( warning: an oral will is not valid) and can be revoked at any time.

Succession by necessity (not-conforming will)
The Italian law established that the beneficiaries take directly and immediately into the Estate of the Deceased. Remember, in Italy the succession procedure is very different from the equivalent under U.S.A. Law.

Under Italian Law the beneficiaries will become entitled to Estate (assets) of the Deceased, but will also become subject to the Deceased's debts and liabilities. In case the debts and liabilities of a Deceased exceed his assets, it is possible to not accept this financial burden. A special procedure applies where the situation is uncertain.

When a person dies and owning property (land or buildings in italy) it is necessary to collect documentation, organise certified translations of the documents, appoint a local notary and to follow right procedures to ensure that the property is transferred at the Land Registry in the name of the beneficiaries entitled.

© Italian Property Research 2013