Inheritance and Wills

Last Wills, Estate Planning and Unclaimed Properties

Our assistance regards succession law concern the drafting of wills and trusts respecting the law, and regulating the transfer of wealth, which often concerns real estate assets, from one person to another. This is a crucial step that needs proper assistance to translate the last wills in legal concepts. Italian law states a “legitim” (an obligatory portion of the statutory heirs), which must be taken into consideration in drawing up a will. It is just as important for the heirs to know the extent of their rights and obligations. Hence the need to be fully informed and to evaluate whether and how to accept the request.

A succession also involves important fiscal charges. The complexity of the subject makes it necessary, in order to act with maximum safety, to make use of advance consulting by a lawyer. The whole area of Inheritance and Wills representing a crucial moment in the life of each individual and the regulation of the transfer of wealth often concerns real estate assets changing ownership from one person to another.

Govoni Law Firm assists the client in drafting deeds avoiding to incur in any pathology in the subsequent phase of opening the succession, respecting the last wishes of the testor (in latin language “de cuius“). Often these will flow into institutions for the protection of wealth and assets such as Trust.

The succession opens with the event of the testator’s death and, from then on, works with retroactive effects. This moment is also crucial for the fulfillment of all the formalities that need to be done, including tax obligations.

To this end, in inheritance and wills practices, the Law Firm aims to provide assistance to the client that want to dispose of his own substances in the drafting of the will, informing him of the legal limits that must be respected in identifying the heirs, without affecting the so-called legitimate share (quota di legittima). If this share has been damaged, appropriate reduction action may be carried out with the proper legal action that will be more appropriate to the case for the better protection of the damaged parties. There may be multiple beneficiaries of the same succession, in this case, will have to be carried out an appropriate analysis of the inheritance mass, will be done an evaluation of credits, assets, and debts or negative elements, and finally decide whether to proceed or not with the acceptance of the inheritance, with or without inventory benefit.

The most common cases are found in the legitimate succession (without a will, with an invalid will or a partial inheritance) or testamentary succession (the will is present). In the case of wills of foreign persons, Italian law determines that these must be authenticated by an Italian Notary. Any other succession pact is forbidden by law (known as the prohibition of succession agreements pursuant to Article 458 of the Civil Code), in fact no one can establish unilateral or bilateral pacts or dispose of someone’s inheritance, while the testor is still alive, in favor of potential beneficiaries (such as heirs or legatees).

However, the Italian legal system provides an exemption from this prohibition with the institution of family pacts.

In these cases, the Law Firm takes care to assist the entrepreneur who may decide to delegate all or part of his company or company’s participation in favor of one or more individuals. With this institute, the Italian legislator intended to guarantee the best continuity in the family business and Govoni Law Firm assists the client in the delicate generational shift.

In 1992, in Italy, the Trust entered into force through the ratification of The Hague Convention of July 1985 and the recognition of Law No. 364 of 16 October 1989. The Trust is an instrument that is based on a fiduciary and trustworthy relationship between the subjects involved, the trustee, the settlor, and the beneficiary, and aims to achieve a goal.

The Trust institution allows legal protection of assets where the settlor allocates his assets, such as money, usufruct rights, bare ownership, shares, collections or artworks, on a fund specifically set up for the benefit of a subject that must be protected and safeguarded. This protection can also be extended to other members of the family.

For further information and assistance regarding inheritance, wills and wealth protection, contact us!

Unclaimed Properties in Italy

Someone in your family was Italian? Do you know that you could have the right to become a property owner in Italy?

Unclaimed properties refer to property in Italy for which there is no trace of any activity or any contact with the owner for a long period of time. Each Country defines these time periods and refers to them as “dormant” or inactive periods.

There are other forms of unclaimed property and include savings or current accounts, shares, dividends or checks not received, reimbursements, travelers’ checks, assets divided in trust, payment orders or prepaid vouchers not redeemed (in some States), insurance premiums or reimbursements and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, overpayments, guarantee deposits, mining concession fee payments and contents of safety deposit boxes.

About 30 million Americans hold an unclaimed property that they have not yet regained possession of. Every year, millions of owners submit their complaints; about two-thirds of these are not successful.

Ask our law firm to run a title report searching all the properties in the name of your ancestor.

The criteria that we need for the search are as follows:

  • Italian name (if female, maiden) even if deceased several decades ago;
  • Birthdate or year (No birth years before 1870);
  • The Italian town of birth or other nation;
  • Father of this person (useful if the exact town of birth is not known).