Italian Inheritance and Succession Law

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What is Inheritance and Succession under Italian Law?

Italian Inheritance Law (also known as Italian Succession Law) is primarily ruled by the Italian Civil Law and by the Regulation (EU) No. 650/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012.

After a person deceases in Italy, his inheritance procedure will be opened.

Inheritance and Succession under Italian Law is a procedure to transfer all assets and liabilities to the heirs and it will define the share of inheritance to each party.

Essentially, this procedure is important to identify the individuals who will receive the assets of the deceased and to determine the share of the inheritance that applies to each party.

Who can claim for inheritance in Italy?

There are basically two types of succession:
  1. The Testamentary succession
  2. The Legitimate succession (for legitimate heirs)

Anyone indicated in the will and those who are considered/recognized as legitimate heirs according to the Italian Inheritance Law. Also, in case of an absence of a will and identified heirs, family members up to the sixth degree of kinship are allowed to claim for inheritance. If there are no heirs, relatives or testamentary dispositions, the Italian State can claim for inheritance.

Documents for declaring your inheritance right in Italy

The first step to being taken after a demise is to start with the “Dichiarazione di Successione” (in English, Statement of Succession or Declaration of Succession). In order to carry out this procedure, it is required to gather the following documents. Please note that: when gathering all the documents, it is important to check the latest version of the required documents.

  1. Death certificate – Certificato di morte
  2. Certificate of the last residence of the deceased
  3. Self-certification of the deceased’s family status
  4. Self-certification of the family status of the heirs
  5. Cadastral records of all the deceased’s real estate properties – Visure catastali (including documents concerning modifications/changes of such properties)
  6. A deed where it is indicated all heirs, the type of succession, and their property regime – Atto di notorietà dell’erede
  7. Copy of the will be authenticated by a notary (if any)
  8. Self-assessment statement of all mortgage and cadastral taxes with relative payment receipts**
  9. Urban destination declaration
  10. Copy of the loan agreement (if any)
  11. Documents attesting any liabilities (if any)
  12. Bank statement certifying the presence of any bank accounts on behalf of the deceased
  13. Receipt of all funeral expenses incurred in case of inheritance tax
  14. Declarations of waiver of inheritance (if any)

How to claim for inheritance in Italy?

The Declaration of Succession "Dichiarazione di Successione” can ONLY be submitted electronically by an authorized subjects (such as CPAs or CAF offices), and it must be submitted within 12 months from the day of the death. Please keep in mind that some of the above-mentioned documents may not be easy to gather.

The declaration must be completed and forwarded through the Italian Revenue Agency website by submitting the declaration of succession. Remember that the interested party is also required to pay the mortgage (and its taxes), cadastral taxes, stamp duties, and any other special taxes. If you are not familiar with Italian taxes, calculating it by yourself may be difficult, therefore, it is better to ask for professional support in this phase.

We can assist!

If you need support for claiming your rights, please contact us. We can appoint a counsel to follow your case, your physical presence in Italy shall not required.

Our service includes:
  • Legal advice
  • Advise of documents to submit and drafting documents
  • Preparation and submission of application
Extra service:
  • Document translation and Attestation
  • Legalization and Apostille

Request a Free Quote

If you are looking for a legal service provider in Italy, contact us for an initial consultation and price quote by filling out the online form. One of our legal consultants will reach out to you shortly via email. Please note that in case of complex issues we may require a consultation fee for the initial assessment and schedule a 30 minutes call.

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Practical Q&A

About the Legitimate heirs

Under Italian law, the legitimate heirs are: a) the spouse, b) the children (or their heirs) and c) the ascendants. It is important to keep in mind that Italian Law, even though the existence of a will, guarantees the share of inheritance to the legitimate heirs.
The general rule is that the law of the country of habitual residence of the deceased at the time of his/her death will be applied. However, there is also the possibility to choose for the law of the deceased nationality, only if established in the will.
As explained above, Italian Inheritance Law recognizes the status of legitimate heirs and guarantees them a specific shared percentage (known as “reserved share”). Therefore, the testator can leave to anyone his/her possessions and assets but only the proportion permitted by law.
In the case the share percentages pertaining to the legitimate heirs are not respected in the will, the interested party (parties) can challenge the will by asking the reduction of the testamentary disposition as it breaches their rights as legitimate heirs.

About the Will

Italian law has mainly 3 types of wills:
a) Public will (article 603 of Italian Civil Code)
which must be done and signed in front of a Public Notary and two witnesses. Even though this type of will is called “Public”, the content of the will is going to remain private until the death of the testator.
b) Holographic will (also known as private will)(article 609 of Italian Civil Code)
which must be handwritten, dated, signed by the testator (the deceased), and duly sealed. Legally speaking, the testator is not obliged to inform others that he/she has written the holographic will. So, this type of will can be kept by the testator himself, it can be handed to another person to keep it in a fiduciary deposit or to a Notary
c) Secret will (article 604 of Italian Civil Code)
it is similar to public wills, as it will be done in front of the notary and two witnesses, and the notary will keep it as a public will. The main difference with the public will is that the content of the secret will remains “secret” even to the notary since he will simply attest that it has been duly signed in front of him and the two witnesses and will keep it in his archives until the testator’s death.
Generally speaking, Italian Inheritance Law / Italian Succession Law accepts foreign wills, however, it must be authenticated by an Italian Notary.
Even though it is legally possible to use a foreign will in Italy, it is highly advisable for a non-Italian citizen that owns properties in Italy to prepare an Italian will written in Italian as submitting documents written in foreign languages or foreign documents means that it will be required to be translated and legalized, which may cause delays in the procedure and may also cause additional costs.

Abouy the executor of the will

The executor is an individual that had been identified and appointed in the will by the testator/deceased. The executor is entrusted with the task of effective execution of the deceased’s will. Furthermore, he manages the hereditary assets and, under certain conditions, he can also take legal action to protect such assets.
The testator can basically choose anyone who trusts (also an heir), and nominate him as the executor of his will. Besides, the testator can even nominate more than one executor (in such a case, the tasks must be divided among them).

Acceptance/renounce the inheritance

It is very important to accept the inheritance according to the formalities established by law. There are basically three ways to accept an inheritance:
a) Express acceptance, which will be done through a public deed or a private document, where it will be written that the person is declaring expressly to accept the inheritance and therefore assumes his/her role as an heir;
b) Tacit acceptance, in this case, the acceptance takes place when the person called to inherit performs an act which will not be possible to do unless he/she has the right to proceed as a heir;
c) Acceptance with the benefit of inventory, in this case the acceptance takes place with a declaration at the notary or a Court/Judicial clerk in which the heir prevents the confusion between his assets and that of the deceased. In this way, the inherited assets and the heir’s own assets will remain separate and therefore, the liabilities inherited will be paid only within the limit of the value of the inherited assets.
The deadline for the acceptance of the inheritance is 10 years from the death of the property owner. However, this deadline may vary upon request before the Court from other interested parties.
Yes, you can. However, in case you would prefer to give up the inheritance (for example in the event that the inheritance includes debts), it is important to respect the formalities and deadlines established by law.
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