How does Italian law define dormant accounts?
According to Italian law, a dormant account contains a sum over €100 that has not been moved by the owner for a period of 10 years.
A dormant account may be with a bank or other financial institution and can be an account or financial instrument. This includes any inactive deposits in savings account books, bank accounts, postal accounts, shares, bonds and government securities.
Is it true that funds in a dormant account can be transferred into an Italian government fund?
Rules establish that financial institutions can terminate contractual relationships dormant for 10 years or more with sums of at least €100. These dormant funds transfer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. Article 1 paragraph 343 Law 2005 n. 266 designates these funds for social purposes.
However, before any sum devolves into the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance fund, the owners of a dormant account must receive notification from the financial institution.
Thereafter, owners have a period of 180 days to reactivate the dormant account. Either owners can make a transaction or, they can notify the financial institution of their wish to continue the contractual relationship.
Even if sums have transferred to the government fund, the account owner may still claim a refund. Owners of dormant accounts have 10 years to claim a refund.
Who is entitled to a refund?
Provided that the ten year statute of limitation has not elapsed, owners of accounts or their assignees can claim a refund. The ten year statute of limitation starts from the date the financial institution transferred sums to the government fund, or the issuance of a banker’s draft.
How do you get a refund?
First, you will have to prove you are the owner or beneficiary of a dormant account. In order to do this you will need to visit the Consap website. This system will ascertain if a dormant account exists according to the data you provide and permit you to download a refund form, which you will need to fill.
Where you have inherited a dormant account, you will need to provide a self-certification document, which will be verified by Consap.
Owners of dormant accounts should check the Consap website for details or they can send their application to:
Rif. Rapporti dormienti
Via Yser, 14
or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Claimants will need to supply proof of their right to a refund. The type of documents will depend on personal circumstances. These may include:
– Copy of identity card or other ID of the applicant entitled to refund.
– Copy of fiscal code of the applicant entitled to refund.
– The account owner’s death certificate.
– Copy of savings passbook or of a bank statement.
– Statement attesting heir’s entitlement.
– Statement of termination of contractual relationship by the financial institution.
– Notification of transfer to the government fund.
After verifying entitlement to a refund, Consap will transfer payment through methods such as a bank transfer or a banker’s draft.
What if you have moved or haven’t received bank notification about a dormant account?
First, you should contact the financial institution you think may hold an account to ascertain if you are the owner of a dormant account. Secondly, you should notify the financial institution regarding any change of residence. In effect, notification of a change of residence is sufficient to reactivate a dormant account.
I’ve received a letter from the bank but, the dormant account owner has passed away.
In this case, it is important to remember that not only the owner of a dormant account can reactivate it. An executor can also do this. If there is no executor, beneficiaries should notify the financial institution of their entitlement to succeed to the deceased’s account. Beneficiaries should present the owner’s death certificate with Italian probate and succession documents.
What if there is more than one dormant account at the same bank?
Owners don’t have to reactivate all their dormant accounts. Reactivating one account is sufficient. For example, if there is a dormant current account and a dormant deposit account, reactivating one will make both active.
For more in-depth information about Italian succession, you might find our Succession Guide useful.
At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of expertise managing cross border property, succession and estate planning matters throughout Italy. Our firm is also a full member of STEP, the world’s leading association for trust and estate practitioners.
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