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  • A Deceased Relative of Mine Owned Italian Assets. How Should I Proceed?

    By De Tullio Law Firm

    According to Italian law, inheritance is transmitted in 2 ways:

    1) According to the law of intestate succession, if the deceased died intestate (without a Will), the assets are transmitted to the descendants or the surviving spouse following the principles set out within the Italian Civil Code.

    2) According to a Will, which is a legal document signed by the deceased in order to dispose of his assets after his/her death.

    In broad terms the Will can be of two types:

    a) Italian Will: This will need to be "published" and registered with the competent Italian authorities after the death of the testator.

    b) Non Italian Will: Such a Will must first be translated by means of a sworn translation before an Italian Court. A non-Italian Will, especially if it lacks any explicit reference to the Italian assets, becomes subject to interpretation with the support of an Italian attorney. This is necessary in order to assess if such a Will can be applicable to the Italian assets or not. If the assets are not expressly disposed of by the Will, then the right to succession to these will follow the rules of the Italian Civil Code.

    In both cases the Italian inheritance should be formally accepted. The acceptance can be tacit or explicit.

    A tacit acceptance occurs when the heir, by disposing of or otherwise dealing with the Italian assets, clearly shows the intention to accept them.

    An explicit acceptance should occur in a public deed signed in front of a Notary Public.

    Probate

    Within twelve months following the death of the testator, the heirs should file the Italian probate with the competent authority, (Agenzia delle Entrate). The relevant branch of Agenzia delle Entrate will be determined by the domicile of the deceased at the date of his/her death. At this stage, the heirs will be called upon to pay the taxation connected with the inheritance.

    The amount of tax will be determined by the relationship of the deceased to the heirs and the total value of the assets involved in the succession.

    Once probate has been completed it will be possible to re-register the immovable assets in the name of the heirs.

    To try to navigate through the procedures outlined above without the assistance of an experienced Italian attorney specializing in inheritance law can turn an already difficult situation into a traumatic one, so be sure to obtain the professional help you need to manage the process sympathetically and efficiently.

    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.


    About the Author:

    De Tullio Law Firm is an international law firm specialized in Italian inheritance law and Italian cross border real estate transactions. Over the years, it has gained a wide experience in the real estate field, as well as providing assistance with wills & probates, EU law, litigation, taxes and corporate law.

    De Tullio Law Firm is listed on the British and American embassies websites, and contributes as legal expert with several publications.

    On our website www.detulliolawfirm.com you will find plenty of information about Italian property, as well as articles about Italian inheritance law and foreign married couples. On our sister site www.italianinheritance.it you will find detailed information about the Italian inheritance procedure. Our aim is to assist our clients in the best possible way by giving independent legal advice, and also to inform and educate our on-line visitors on the basics and beyond.

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