Succession Law and Inheritance in Italy – How to

Inheriting a house in Italy, however small it is, requires steps that must be followed and cautions for which it is advisable to contact a lawyer. Especially for a foreigner.
Since 2010, Govoni Law Firm’s lawyers have dealt with successions, wills and over the years have assisted various clients from all over the world.

When an individual with Italian assets passes away, the property and other goods located in Italy must be liquidated and distributed – whether a Will exists or not. Furthermore, a legal title must be established for heirs and beneficiaries to obtain the assets. We assist clients in any steps of the procedure to obtain the assets from the succession of the deceased.

Why should I hire a Lawyer for an Inheritance case in Italy?

Due to the complexity of these cases, especially for foreign clients that are located outside of Italy, the assistance of an experienced Inheritance lawyer is vital to deal with all legal procedures – particularly if heirs or creditors contest the Will.

In addition to this, there are financial penalties to be paid if the procedures are not adhered to in a timely manner. Estates vary and so does the settlement of estates.

An administrator of an estate, often a family member or trusted friend, will need the assistance of a probate lawyer to ensure that the Will adheres to the Succession Law and it is applied correctly.

What does a Probate Lawyer do?

Our experienced lawyers will clearly explain the procedures and make sure all steps are taken care of within the time constraints while ensuring that your interests are protected as well as the wishes of the deceased.

Our probate lawyers also carry out all the necessary bureaucratic issues such as:

  • Filing the Will and death certificate with the probation proceedings;
  • Notifying creditors about death and probate procedures;
  • Collecting the necessary information to file the various required documents, such as those required to release probate money held in bank accounts or financial portfolios.

In the event that any disputes do arise among heirs or creditors, the administration of the estate can be delayed, resulting in financial penalties.

A probate lawyer can prevent such penalties and advise the estate’s administrator on how best to proceed. A probate lawyer can also represent minors and mentally incapacitated heirs in the distribution of assets.

Make a Will in Italy

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 any pathology in the subsequent phase of opening the succession, respecting the last wishes of the testator. 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 wants 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 testator 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.