DROIT IMMOBILIER

Achat de biens en Italie

Questions clef et réponses sur les biens immobiliers italiens – processus d’achat de biens.

Tout acheteur devrait toujours prendre en considération qu’il peut y avoir un “conflit d’intérêt”.
L’agent immobilier vous a dit qu’il peut inclure des services légaux dans ses honoraires (les commissions des agences immobilières étant de 3% de la valeur des biens, en général)? N’oubliez pas que votre agent immobilier ne sera payé que si la vente se fait.

Les diverses parties impliquées dans votre transaction pourraient ne pas vouloir vous dire toute la vérité au sujet de votre propriété parce qu’elles ont un intérêt financier, ou bien comme investissement, pour que la vente se fasse. C’est pourquoi vous devriez toujours chercher à obtenir le conseil légal indépendant d’un avocat compétent et expérimenté, parlant votre langue et n’ayant que votre intérêt à cœur.

Before buying a home in Italy, “it is imperative to come and visit the property first, and it is equally important to speak to an independent Italian legal advisor.“

Is buying a home in Italy safe?

Italy is a country of great natural beauty with unparalleled cultural wealth. Moreover, it is a founding member of the European Union and a member of the Eurozone.

Often the most exciting aspect of beginning a new life abroad is buying the perfect home – what you choose and its location can be crucial to ensuring that your life abroad is a long-term success.

The procedures and terminology for buying a home in Italy are quite different from what you are likely to be used to, so it is essential to have the assistance of an Italian real estate market expert through the process.

There is a huge variety of property available on the Italian real estate market. Property for every budget and taste. Before taking the final decision, it is imperative to come and visit the property first, and if you decide to go ahead and buy a property, it is equally important to speak to an independent Italian legal advisor.

The conveyancing process as regulated by the Italian Civil Code, anyway, is extremely safe assuming that the buyer takes care and pays attention as generally required for an investment of this importance.

How long to complete the property purchase process in Italy?

Assuming no particular problem arises after the legal due diligence carried out by your lawyer, the whole property purchase process in Italy can be completed quite quickly, often within a month.

Many investors find it easier buying through an estate agent, but…

… if this is the case, any investor should verify if the agent is registered, as required by law, with the local Chamber of Commerce (Ruolo degli Agenti di Affari in Mediazione). Purchasing directly from the vendor is equally acceptable and will save the buyer the payment of the commission fee of the real estate agent (a standard commission is generally 3% of the value of the property). The latter solution is risk-free with the assistance of an Italian, bilingual, legal advisor.

… I do not understand the Italian language, what should I do?

Any legally binding agreement relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be written in Italian, whatever the nationality of the parties involved. In case of litigation, the Italian version will prevail. Moreover, you should be aware that translations of legal documents may not be accurate or completely correspond to the original.

You should never sign any legally binding agreement without the advice of a qualified, bilingual Italian lawyer who can explain, in your language, the full scope of your commitment.

Additional information – Legal translations in Italian real estate transactions

If I sign a preliminary real estate contract…

… what happens if I cannot complete the purchase?

As you have signed a legally binding agreement (Preliminary Real Estate Contract, or “Compromesso“), most likely you will lose your deposit. This deposit will not be returned if you (the buyer) defaults and backs out of the contract without a valid legal reason. The vendor may also be in a position to take you to court to seek additional financial compensation.

Many people ignore the main difference between an Italian lawyer and an Italian Notary Public…

In the Italian legal system, the Italian Notary Public is a public official of the Italian State who is in a position of neutrality between the buyer and the vendor; this is the reason why he is no substitute for a lawyer who, conversely will exclusively look after the interests of his client.

Should you need further information regarding this topic, check our blog post: Italian Public Notaries in Property Transactions.

I was told that I need an interpreter during the Deed of Sale…

…can I use one appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent?

If the buyer is not fluent in Italian when signing the Deed of Sale of a Real Estate, Italian law requires the presence of an interpreter. Our advice is not only to verify that the interpreter is duly qualified from a linguistic and legal point of view, but also that the translator is not acting in conflict of interest. This would be the case if the interpreter is appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent.

Your bilingual independent legal advisor has the right qualifications to assist you throughout the real estate transaction. Your legal advisor, appointed by you and acting only in your interests, will take care of interpreting and translations, as well as making sure that you have a full understanding of the documents you are requested to sign and the legal consequences implied.

I intend to renovate my property and I am already in contact with a building company for construction works…

… will I need a contract?

In case of renovation works, the best guarantee for a customer is to have a contract professionally drafted by a lawyer where all the obligations of the building company and prices are listed in detail. This is generally sufficient to prevent significant problems arising in the future.

Major renovation works can be extremely expensive and it’s very hard to forecast unforeseen requirements as work progresses. The early involvement of a lawyer in drafting a contract between you and your builder can help keep costs under control.

It is highly advisable to draft an Italian Will assisted by your Italian lawyer in order to limit the consequences of “legal succession”.

“Legal succession” applies where the deceased has not left a Will, and in such a case the Italian law determines which relatives of the deceased have the right to succeed (primarily the spouse, the legitimate and natural children, and the descendants).

In the case of a lack of heirs, according to Italian law, the hereditary assets present in Italy would be assigned to the Italian State.

Additional information can be found below in the Italian inheritance law FAQ’s

In the case where the legal owner dies without leaving an Italian Will, the property will be inherited according to the rules of the Italian legal succession (read above).

Si vous ne trouvez pas la réponse à votre question, nous serons heureux d’être contactés. Veuillez vous mettre en contact avec nous pour poser votre question.

LOI DE SUCCESSION

Questions et réponses sur les successions en Italie

Voici une liste ici de questions fréquentes et de leurs réponses, en ce qui concerne les héritages en Italie et les procédures de succession.

Inheritance rights of spouses If you are married, you will be entitled to inheritance as a ‘forced heir’.

According to Italian law, you cannot be excluded from inheriting your reserved quota.

Drafting a will in Italy: the reasons

It is definitely worth drafting an Italian Will if you own assets in Italy.

Succession will fall under the jurisdiction of Italian law, which means that any Will relating to Italian assets should be published with an Italian Public Notary. An Italian Public Notary cannot receive a Will drafted in a foreign language.

Therefore, any non-Italian Will would require a sworn translation into Italian. This clearly generates problems and costs as well as assuming that the Will does not conflict with Italian law.

For these reasons, it is easier and probably more cost-efficient to draft a Will in Italian.

How does Italian inheritance tax apply?

Estate tax applies to the entire net value of the deceased’s estate, including movable and immovable assets. Rates depend on the relationship of the beneficiary with the deceased, as follows: Spouse and children: 4% of the estate value, with an exemption of EUR 1 million for each beneficiary. Siblings and close relatives (up to fourth degree of kinship): 6%. Each sibling is entitled to an allowance of EUR 100,000. Any other beneficiary: 8%, without allowance.

L’impôt de succession s’applique sur toute la valeur nette des biens du défunt, aussi bien mobiliers qu’immobiliers. Les taux dépendent du lien de parenté du bénéficiaire avec le défunt, comme suit: époux / épouse et enfants: 4% de la valeur des biens, avec une exemption d’un million d’euros pour chaque bénéficiaire. Frères et sœurs, ainsi que parents proches (jusqu’au quatrième degré de parenté): 6%. Chaque frère / sœur a droit à un abattement de 100,000 euros. Tout autre bénéficiaire: 8%, sans abattement.

How to limit the consequences of “legal succession”?

It is highly advisable to draft an Italian Will assisted by your Italian Lawyer in order to limit the consequences of “legal succession”. “Legal succession” applies where the deceased has not left a Will, and in such a case the Italian law determines which relatives of the deceased have the right to succeed (primarily the spouse, the legitimate and natural children, and the ascendants). In the case of a lack of heirs, according to Italian law, the hereditary assets present in Italy would be assigned to the Italian State.

What will happen to such property when he/she dies?

In the case where the legal owner dies without leaving an Italian Will, the property will be inherited according to the rules of the Italian legal succession. Such rules do not take in consideration unmarried partners.

According to Italian law an inheritance quota is reserved for close family members such as children and spouses.

In principle, such individuals cannot be excluded from the inheritance unless very strict conditions are met. If you intend to exclude a forced heir from your Will, it is strongly advisable to engage an Italian lawyer to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.

Yes.

The assets listed in the Will will be inherited by the heirs mentioned in the Will. The remaining Italian assets will go to the legitimate heirs, meaning heirs determined by Italian inheritance law.

Independently from your family situation, you can always leave a part of your inheritance (the disposable one) to other parties or institutions (e.g. a charity).

No. Joint Wills for a married couple are not recognised under Italian law.

Wills are strictly personal deeds and each partner must draft their individual Will.

Succession rights

Are there any relatives who cannot be excluded in the Succession?

The relatives in direct line to the deceased are entitled to a reserved quota. These relatives entitled to the Succession are: Children or nephews/nieces Parents (in absence of children) Married partner

What are the rights of unmarried couples? Are the unmarried partners entitled to inheritance rights?

According to Italian inheritance law, unmarried partners are not entitled to any inheritance rights. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that partners of unmarried couples protect their position by drafting Italian Wills.

Yes it is possible to nominate several beneficiaries, each one of them pro-quota (heir A 1/3, heir B 1/3, heir C 1/3) or different beneficiaries for every single asset (my beach house to heir A, my city house to heir B etc.)

Can I change my Will over time? Is it possible to change my Will beneficiary?

It is always permitted to change, amend or revoke your Will. As situations change throughout our lives so do families, assets, and wishes and so a Will should reflect this.

You should contact a bilingual Italian Lawyer or a bilingual Notary public.

Contact De Tullio Law Firm for more information.

You should store it in the safe-keeping of a person you trust.

This might be a trusted relative, friend or a professional such as a solicitor or Public Notary.

Inheritance tax exemption: What inheritance assets are exempt from taxation?

Medical expenses and funeral costs borne for the deceased.

Italian state bonds, (BOT, CCT, and other state bonds), life insurance policies, and cars registered in the name of the deceased are not subject to taxation.

Un membre de la famille est décédé et j’ai droit à un héritage en Italie. Ma famille italienne suggère de s’occuper de tout et me demande de signer une procuration.

… my Italian family suggests that they will take care of everything and they are asking me to sign a Power of Attorney.

It is never advisable to delegate such a sensitive task to parties who potentially might be in a position of conflict of interest. Power of Attorney is very sensitive and should be conferred to a professional who has experience in the field and who is accountable for his actions.

Usucapio risk:

I have inherited a property in Italy where some family members live without a contract. Is this exposing me to any potential risk?

Yes, this is very much the case. According to Italian law, if someone has possession of a property for many years, without paying any rent, with the implicit consent of the legal owner he could be entitled to claim ownership in court. This legal procedure is called ‘usucapione’ the closest legal concept in common law would be limitations of action.

All legally binding documents relating to an Italian real estate transaction must be written in Italian, regardless of the nationality of the parties involved. In the case of litigation, the Italian version will prevail. You should employ the services of a sworn translator. This bilingual professional will ensure that the English translation accurately reflects the Italian version.

Italian Notary Public:

Why should I hire a lawyer when I am already using an Italian Notary Public?

In the Italian legal system, the Italian Notary Public is a State official who must act in a completely impartial way to ensure that all parties are protected in equal measure. A Public Notary is also the person on whom the Italian State relies for the collection of taxes related to transactions.

A Public Notary cannot, therefore legally take sides in any transaction. Engaging your own lawyer is the only way to ensure that your best interests are served.

Deed of sale: real estate in Italy

I was told that I needed an interpreter during the Deed of Sale, can I use one appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent?

If the buyer is not fluent in Italian, when signing the Deed of Sale, Italian law requires the presence of an interpreter. We recommend that you verify the interpreter is duly qualified from a linguistic and legal point of view, but also, that they are not acting in conflict of interest.

This might be the case if the interpreter is appointed by the vendor and/or the real estate agent.

I am a foreign (non Italian) citizen and I own a property in Italy… … what inheritance law will apply to my succession?

The inheritance law might depend on your citizenship and residency but the succession procedure related to your Italian property will be regulated by the Italian law.

To be clear, if you own an immovable asset in Italy, you will need to manage the succession in Italy.

Italian inheritance law

What should I do with my Will?

You should put it under the custody of a person you trust.

Si vous ne trouvez pas la réponse à votre question, nous serons heureux d’être contactés. Veuillez vous mettre en contact avec nous pour poser votre question.

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