Inheritance Division in Italian Law

Italian law allows for two main scenarios regarding the division of an inheritance (Articles 713-736 of the Italian Civil Code): Division Process The division process can be either: Court-ordered Division The judge will propose a division plan (Art. 785 Italian Code of Civil Procedure). If everyone agrees, the division is executed. If there is any […]

The Evolving Landscape of Wills in Italy: Key Roles and Recent Legal Developments

In Italy, where only about 10% of inheritances are executed through a will, understanding the nuances of testamentary practices is crucial. Each type of will has specific protocols, and recent legal developments have emphasized the roles of attorneys and notaries. The Personal Holographic (Handwritten) Will: Entrusting an Attorney The holographic will, entirely handwritten by the […]

Testamentary trust: an irrevocable tool to protect your properties and assets in Italy

A testamentary trust is a legal tool created in a person’s Last Will and Testament to specify how one’s assets will be distributed to specific beneficiaries. Contrary to a living trust, it comes into effect after one’s death. A testamentary trust involves three main parties: Benefits of a testamentary trust A testamentary trust is an […]

Joint bank accounts: what happens when one of the account holders dies?

According to Italian law, a bank account can be either personal or joint (shared by two or several individuals). A joint bank account presumes joint ownership of the money held in the account. What happens if one of the joint account holders dies? The withdrawal of money from the joint bank account, after one of […]

Real estate and property: Breach of preliminary sale contract

It is possible that either party may default on the preliminary sale contract and decide not to move forward with the agreement. A deposit is an amount of money that a part gives to the other at the end of the preliminary contract as a guarantee. Breach of preliminary sale contract: with or without deposit […]

Gina Lollobrigida: the Italian actress’s will and inheritance

Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian actress known as “La Bersagliera”, died at 95 years of age on January 16, 2023. According to her will, Lollobrigida’s inheritance has been divided between her son, Andrea Milko Skofic, and her former secretary and factotum, Andrea Piazzolla. So, why did Lollobrigida eventually allow him in her will? +1 (877) 904-2321 […]

Inheritance and succession: how to become a legitimate heir

In the above-mentioned case, the applicants were considered legitimate heirs after the sole declaration of succession. Inheritance controversy: status of legitimate heir The Court of Cassation with the order n. 30761/2022 ruled that the status of legitimate heir does not solely depend on paying inheritance taxes. The only way to become a legitimate heir is […]

Sale of inheritance assets: When the consent of a Judge is necessary

A Judge’s consent is necessary when heirs accept an inheritance with the benefit of inventory (art. 484 c.c. e 747 c.p.c). This provides the heirs protection if the inheritance included several debts, because it allows them to pay solely with the estate of the deceased and not  their own resources (art. 490 c.c.). Inheritance Issues: […]

American citizens living in Italy: How to buy a second home in the Peninsula

The historical charm, quality of life and good food in our beautiful country are not the only things that draw Americans to Italy. To date, MY LAWYER IN ITALY® has helped American citizens inherit assets and properties in Italy they sometimes didn’t even know existed. Our team assisted them through the whole succession process, from […]

Implicit acceptance: heir behaviors that imply acceptance of an inheritance

The law identifies some acts performed by an heir that qualify as acceptance of the inheritance, such as: Waive of rights of succession in exchange for money The Supreme Court of Italy has ruled that if an heir has registered an asset in his/her favor, this implies  total acceptance of the inheritance as well. Because […]

Tony Soprano’s Will: Italian and American Inheritance Laws

Beyond the high asset value (estimated at $70 million), many experts found hiw will to be poorly constructed, due to unwise tax planning and inadequate real estate structures. According to the terms of Mr. Gandolfini’s will, a home he owned in Italy was to be split equally between Michael – Gandolfini’s first son – and […]

Paternity test ruled admissible, despite alleged father being deceased

The case in question involves a relationship between a wealthy man and his secretary and director of domestic staff, which resulted in a daughter being born but never recognized as the man’s child. In 1953 the man died and shortly thereafter his only heir passed away aswell. The gap between deaths was in fact so […]

How suppressing a will can lead to being excluded from succession

The court outlines two conditions for this sanction to be applied: b) the voluntary destruction of a will. In cases where an heir is accused of destroying a will, destruction of the document (even if the holder is not aware of its content) is sufficient grounds for exclusion from succession.  The doctrine does not apply […]

Joint bank account succession: how it works and how much you pay

The first steps to take in a succession for joint bank accounts are the same as in any other succession, i.e. declaration of succession to the Italian tax authority. The declaration is made by the heirs, or an appointed delegate through a power of attorney, to the authorized (and local) revenue agency (in Italy, Agenzia […]

What happens if a Declaration of Succession misses its deadline?

By law, succession must be declared within 12 months of its opening (generally considered the date of the testator’s death), with penalties levied for both delays and omission. Despite the threat of sanctions, delays do occur owing to lack of interest, discord between heirs, and a desire not to pay the related taxes. In cases […]

Mandatory Declaration of Succession

What is a declaration of succession? In cases where there are multiple heirs to the estate, only one submission declaring succession is required. If real estate is involved, recording the transfer of deeds in a land registry is also necessary, and involves a series of taxes. The declaration of succession is a legal obligation, and […]

No tax obligations on those renouncing inheritance

Italian Supreme Court Rules No Inheritance Tax on those Renouncing Inheritance According to the judges, “a person called to an inheritance, who has validly renounced it, is not liable for tax debts of the deceased, not even for the period between the opening of succession and the renunciation even if they are among the successors […]

Publication of a Will

Public (dictated to a notary and signed in front of two witnesses), Handwritten (written by hand by the testator and kept by friends or relatives). The publication of the will consists of a notary deed through which the will becomes public. The notary proceeds with publication in the presence of two witnesses and drafts a […]

Italian banks require the payment of inheritance tax

This was the recent decision rendered by The Supreme Court of Italy, leading to the ordinance of April 13, 2021. In the case in question, in the matter of succession and tax payment is relevant: in particular, paragraph 4 of art. 48 entitled “prohibitions and obligations for third parties”. The law and tax payment. The […]

Nullity of Spousal Mutual Wills

Art. 458 of the Italian Civil Code The wills, drawn up on the same day in separate deeds, contained reciprocal provisions for the two testators. The Supreme Court is clear that in the foundation of the two wills there is an agreement between the spouses to regulate their respective succession, thus confirming the nullity of […]

Cross-Border Succession and the Supreme Court of Cassation

A recent case heard by Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation provides a window into the complicated nature of cross-border successions. The case involves a deceased citizen of the UK who lived in Italy and was married to an Italian citizen. His will, however, had been made in the UK two years before moving to Italy, […]

A Mock Case of Cross-Border Inheritance

The complexity of legal issues that arise when deciding which judge has jurisdiction and which law is applicable in a cross-border succession case might be better understood by looking at a detailed, albeit made- up, example of one.  For our mock case, let us imagine a California-based married couple in which the husband is an […]

Choice of Law in Italian-American Successions

Choice of Law of Settlors in Italian-American Cross-Border Succession In the area of estate planning, common law jurisdictions typically afford much more discretion to the individual to design a scheme of distribution. Conversely, civil law systems (such as Italy’s) have statutes that tend to be long, detailed, and allow for less discretion on the part […]

Inheritance Taxes Pursuant to Italian Tax Law

Who Pays Inheritance Taxes in Italy?  The primary consideration of Italian tax law is registered residence (1). If the deceased was a resident of Italy, citizen or not, the heirs will have to pay succession taxes to the Italian state. Citizenship does not matter. Even if the deceased was a foreign citizen, but had residency […]

Heirs and deceased’s bank accounts in Italy

During the course of succession, heirs assume not only the assets of the deceased, but also liabilities. These liabilities may include relationships with banking or credit institutions, making the heir responsible for all rights and duties due these institutions.  In addition, access to personal information must be free and guaranteed in an intelligible form. All […]

Acceptance of Inheritance in Italy and the Ten-Year Rule

A notable case involving the acceptance of inheritance in the Italian legal system unfolded in 1998 when the will of a man who had died in 1983 was discovered 15 years later (Court of Cassation, II Civil Section, sentence of January 18, 2013 n. 264). The will named a sole heir who had been previously […]

Property Claims, Restitution and Inheritance

A recent case involving an inheritance property claim in Italy transpired last year when two brothers sued for ownership of a wine cellar which was being occupied without a property title. Their argument was that the property was part of their inheritance and that they were being unlawfully denied an asset. – Tony Soprano’s Will: Italian […]

Collation of donations made by the deceased in their lifetime

Collation of donations made by the deceased in their lifetime In the course of dividing up an estate, a process of inheritance restructuring known as collation may be requested by one of the participants. Collation adjusts the inheritance of certain descendants (forced heirs) based on the benefits received from the deceased in his or her […]