A brief guide to property inheritance

In the absence of a Will, who inherits my Italian property?

If there is no Will, after death the following laws and principles will apply in Italy:
• If the deceased was unmarried and without children, his/her parents and brothers and sisters will inherit the estate.
• If the deceased was unmarried and leaves children, the children will inherit the estate.
• If the deceased leaves a spouse, but no children, no ascendants or brothers or sisters, the spouse receives the full inheritance .
• If the deceased leaves a spouse and children, the spouse is entitled to half of the estate if there is only one child, and a third in other cases. The rest of the estate is shared equally between the children. The portion of a child already deceased reverts to that child’s descendants.
• If the deceased has no children but leaves a spouse and ascendants, then, two-thirds of the estate devolves to the spouse and a third to the ascendants.
Can unmarried partners or same gender couples inherit?
Italian law does not recognize partnerships. Italian law does not grant automatic succession rights to the surviving partner. The partner can only become an heir if this is stipulated in a Will. There is the possibility to stipulate a legal share of property to a partner. In this modern age by far the best solution would be to draft an Italian Will where you stipulate and specify your wishes after your death.

How will my estate be shared amongst my family?

Italian law provides a portion of the deceased estate, reserved for the spouse, descendants and ascendants of the deceased. Under Italian Law of Succession, the family is protected. If for example, there is a child, he/she is entitled to half of the reserved portion. Where there is more than one child, the children are entitled to two-thirds. If there is a spouse and one child, the reserved portion is two-thirds. If there is a spouse and more than one child, the amount of the reserved portion is three-quarters . If there are only ascendants, the reserved portion is one third. In the case of competition between ascendants and spouse, the reserved portion of the spouse is half of the estate and that of the ascendants is a quarter..
Above all, in all cases, the law stipulates that the spouse has the right to inhabit the family home, owned by the deceased or both, and the right to use the furniture in it. This is something beneficial to know and one way in which the Italian Law protects the rights of the spouse.

How do I draft and register my Will safely and legally?

The most simple method of drafting a Will is with a Notary or Lawyer. Italian law recognizes the following types of Wills:
• a Will executed before a civil law notary in the presence of two witnesses;
• a sealed Will drawn up by the testator and transmitted to a civil law notary;
• a holographic Will which must be written entirely by the testator with his/her own hand and signed by him/her;
• International Wills.
With cross border situations, a Will is valid where it complies with the laws of the State in which the Will was drafted or with the laws where the testator had their residence at the time the Will was drafted of at the time of their death. When the Will is drafted with a Notary, it is officially registered with the register of Wills, kept by the Minister of Justice, thanks to Notarial records.