Italian succession law

Italian succession law

How does it work?

Italian succession law is based on the Roman Law principle which gives some protection to close members of the family, partially limiting the right of the testator to dispose of his/her own assets.  Testamentary Succession is defined as the assignment of the hereditary assets in compliance with the wishes of the testator as set out in an Italian Will whereas in the absence of a Will inheritance is devolved following the principles of Legal Succession.

Where there is no will, succession law gives rights to a number of legitimate heirs who have rights to the assets of the deceased. Such heirs are the spouse of the deceased and the relatives identified by the law starting from the closer ones until the 6th degree of connection.

Italian succession law reserves a significant quota of the inheritance to very close relatives: spouse, ascendants and descendants are all defined as “forced heirs”, meaning that the testator cannot exclude them with their Will. When drafting an Italian will, the testator is free to dispose of a part of his assets known as “disposable quota”. This allows the testator to assign only part of their assets to strangers or non-relatives.

Succession law is based on unity of inheritance which highlights the difference between property and non-property assets: the law of the last domicile or citizenship of the deceased party is applicable to non-property assets, while the law of the country where the property is located is applied to property assets. Therefore, properties in different countries will be regulated by the law of the country where each property is located.  The succession procedure is deemed to be closed when all assets, rights and pending payments have been transferred to the rightful heirs either by mutual agreement or as consequence of judicial proceedings. Agreement of inheritance is then produced in written form and signed by the relevant parties.

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