The majority of Britons have not written a Will, according to research from the Law Society.
The representative body for solicitors has now warned that the consequences of dying without a valid will can be dire for those left behind.
The research revealed that 73 per cent of 16-54 year olds don’t have a Will, while 64 per cent of people over the age of 55 have made their final wishes clear in a will. The research also found that men are more likely to have a Will and keep it updated than women. Read more
As a solicitor, I am often engaged to act on behalf of my clients in very important legal matters. My clients trust me, my knowledge and experience to handle their affairs by giving me a Power of Attorney. You may have heard of a Power of Attorney, but do you know exactly what its purpose is or when it is used?
In order to shed a little light on the subject, here are a few basic facts about a Power of Attorney together with the legal ramifications as they pertain to purchasing and/or inheriting real estate property in Italy Read more
This post is intended as a general guide. For more comprehensive information on Italian conveyancing process, you might like to read our Property Buying Guide. If you are in doubt about any specific issue, please contact me or consult your lawyer.
Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property ownership from vendor to buyer. It starts when your formal offer – Proposta in italian, on a property is accepted and finishes once you have signed the deed of sale, Atto di Vendita, at completion. Read more
Hidden Defects in an Italian Property… Buyers Beware!
Where exactly do you stand if you discover major hidden defects with your Italian property following completion? You move into your dream Italian home only to find that the condition of the property is significantly worse than anticipated.
This is exactly the nightmare scenario the Wright family in Lazio found themselves in. The day after moving in, the family discovered serious water penetration into several rooms in the house, notably the kitchen and living room.
Following their discovery, the Wrights raised the matter with the previous owners, who denied there was a serious problem; the particulars of the property had provided no information on its condition, and the Public Notary also considered that given the Wrights had signed a legally binding Proposta d’Acquisto declaring that they were purchasing the property ‘in condition as seen’, then there was nothing he could do. Read more
In December 2015 the Italian Ministry of Economic Development signed a decree implementing the new reverse mortgage, a form of equity release financing.
The reverse mortgage allows home owners over the age of 60 to convert part of the value of their property into cash using the property as security for the loan. The owner remains the legitimate owner and retains the right to live in the property. The reverse mortgage represents an alternative to selling the property. At the time of signing of the loan, a plan of repayments is established, just like any other form of personal loan.
Interests and related costs are refunded at the time of death of the borrower.
Should the owner decide not to repay the financed sum in advance, the heirs, who inherit the debt entered into by the deceased, have the following options:
- Repay the debt to the bank and clear the mortgage from the
- Selling the mortgaged property
- Allow the lending bank to sell the property at market value according in order to repay the mortgage.
If the property is sold at market value, the heirs have the right to obtain the difference once the debt has been repaid. The bank cannot ask the heirs to repay the debt, in the case that the bank fails to sell the property.
Another feature of the reverse mortgage regards interests, which can be refunded either at the time of expiry of the loan or at fixed deadlines. If the “refund upon expiry” formula is chosen, no sum is due to the bank during the loan. In this case, there is no insolvency regarding the financing.
The sum granted to the borrower is determined by:
- the borrower’s age – the older the borrower is, the higher the percentage of equity release that will be granted
- the value of the property used to secure the loan
If you wish more information on this topic, please contact us.
According to Italian law, a rent-free property agreement is applicable where a party lends an item they own to a borrower in order that the borrower may use the item for a given period of time or for a specific reason. The borrower then has the obligation to return the item to the lender at the end of the agreed period of use. As its name implies, a rent-free agreement is entered into for purposes other than financial gain.
The most common examples of rent-free property agreement pertain to a parent allowing a child to live rent-free in a property.
Interestingly, according to the Italian law, a rent-free property agreement is not restricted to housing. All sorts of items can be loaned rent-free to a third party. This might be a car or gardening equipment. In general, it is not necessary for the agreement between the parties to be in writing, an oral agreement is considered legally valid.
However, as far as homes or properties are concerned, a rent-free property agreement must be registered with the local Agenzia delle Entrate.
Once a rent-free tenancy agreement is registered, the 2016 Law of Stability has introduced a novelty with regarding tax: it is possible to benefit from a 50% discount on IMU and TASI so long as the following conditions are met:
- The property must be considered as the main residence of the occupier benefitting from the rent-free agreement.
- There must be first degree kinship relationship between the parties of the contract (typically parents and children)
- The property owner must own only one other house
- The two properties in question must be located in the same Municipality
For more information on rent-free agreements, please feel free to contact us.
Cross-Border Inheritance Law. How Does New EU Succession Legislation Impact You?
This article looks at the new EU Law 650/2012, also known as the Brussels IV Regulation, which came in to effect on 17th August 2015.
Although the UK, Denmark and Ireland have opted out of participating in Brussels IV, there are still implications for nationals of these countries who reside in a participating EU Member State or have a connection to a participating EU Member State, for example a holiday home.
Prior to the introduction of Brussels IV, each EU jurisdiction applied its own rules to govern the devolution of individuals’ property. For individuals with assets in more than one country, various Connecting Factors were considered such as domicile, residence, nationality or habitual residence, in order to determine which country laws should apply to an individual’s estate. In addition, for some EU states, applicable succession law depended upon whether the assets were immovable (property and land) or movable (bank accounts, vehicles, furniture, jewellery and so on). The fact that each jurisdiction applied different Connecting Factors often led to costly, lengthy and complex conflicts of laws. Read more
What does ‘Unclaimed Italian Properties’ mean? Between 1861 and 1985 over 29 million Italians emigrated to other countries. About 18 million permanently settled abroad, predominantly in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina. In 2011, there were 4,115,235 Italian citizens living outside Italy and several tens of millions of descendants of Italians, who emigrated in the last two centuries.
When Italian emigrants went abroad, they often left property and land in Italy. It is a myth that this property was confiscated by the Italian State. The reality is that the property is still here in Italy, unclaimed, and the original owners, deceased many years ago, are still on the title deeds. There are many thousands of these properties and parcels of land across Italy and in many cases the descendants of emigrants living outside Italy could still claim them. Over the years, I have been contacted for help and advice by many descendants of Italian emigrants who want to find their ancestors’ property in Italy. In some cases, people come to me after spending considerable time, and substantial amounts of money. Read more
Prevention is always better than cure, therefore, always seek legal experts.
You’ve seen a few Italian properties online that you really like the look of. You want to book flights to Italy, organise rental car and accommodation to see the properties for yourself. But how do you know if the properties you’ve set your heart on seeing are legally safe and structurally sound? Before being advertised with a real estate agent, was a survey conducted? Have the legalities been checked?
Be sure to seek legal experts, before purchasing a property.
We can provide an independent and professional pre-purchase property background check service. That way, you can avoid problems such as buying a property with shared title deeds, other legal and financial complications, structural or planning permission issues. Knowing exactly where you stand before you view properties, you increase your chance of finding the right property first time and avoiding wasted trips and the expense of repeat visits and false starts.
We also provide a pre-sales property background check service for owners preparing to put Italian property on the real estate market. Having all the legal and structural details as part of your property sales package offers vendors a competitive advantage when promoting property for sale.
Please contact us if you would like assistance.
Italian Property Background Check
Our independent professional legal and structural advice will save you time and money before you buy or sell a property in Italy.
Ask about our pre-purchase and pre-sale services
Certificate of Habitability
Title Deeds / Legal Ownership