A will determines distribution of your assets
By making an Italian will, you can decide how to divide your estate after your death. In addition, it allows you to be certain that your heirs don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary.
What is an Italian Will?
A will is a legal document. The will writer, known as the testator, establishes in written form, how to distribute their estate after death (article 587 of Italian Civil Code).
Anyone over the age of 18, who is not legally incapacitated, can write an Italian will. Incapacity is defined by Italian Civil Code.
Italian law states that a will is revocable at any time. Testators’ rights to dispose of their assets is protected until their last breath.
The content of an Italian will is essentially patrimonial. That is to say, it deals with the distribution of a testator’s inheritable assets. However, the law states that testators can also make dispositions of a non-pecuniary nature in a will. For example, the recognition of a natural child.
Why is having an Italian will important?
If you own assets such as property in Italy, you should not underestimate the importance of a will in Italian.
The laws governing forced heirship are very strict in Italy. Because of this, anyone wishing to derogate from these rules should seek legal advice in order to ensure their plans comply with Italian and European succession rules.
Not only does a will enable a testator to assign assets to beneficiaries, it can also be useful in preventing conflict among heirs. In certain cases, it can also permit a reduction in inheritance tax payments.
Because it makes life easier for those you leave behind, if you own property in Italy, we would advise that you make an Italian will.
How do you make an Italian will?
An Italian will must be in Italian. For an Italian will to be legally valid, a testator must hand write, sign and date the document.
For straightforward cases, testators can use a very simple will format with wording such as this:
Io sottoscritto/a, …………………. (indicare cognome, nome, luogo e data di nascita, residenza) revoca tutte le mie precedenti disposizioni testamentarie. Dispongo del mio patrimonio al momento della mia morte come segue.
Nomino erede universale di tutti i miei beni terreni …………. (indicare cognome, nome ed eventuali rapporti di parentela. Se non si tratta di un parente, indicare anche luogo e data di nascita).
Cedo a ………… (indicare cognome, nome ed eventuale parentela, se non è un parente è opportuno indicare luogo e data di nascita) i seguenti beni: …………………….. (specificare chiaramente i beni).
I, the undersigned, …………………. (indicate surname, name, place and date of birth, residence) herewith revoke all my previous testamentary dispositions. I dispose of my patrimony at the time of my death as follows.
I appoint as universal heir of all my worldly goods …………. (indicate surname, name and any relationship of kinship. If it is not a relative, you should also indicate place and date of birth).
I give to ………… (indicate surname, name and any relationship, if it is not a relative, it is appropriate to indicate place and date of birth) the following assets: …………………….. (clearly specify the assets).
Even if you think your situation is straightforward, it may not be. If you own property in Italy and elsewhere, this adds a layer of complexity. It will require cross border legal expertise. We therefore recommend that you seek independent legal advice regarding your personal circumstances.
At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of experience managing cross border and Italian inheritance matters throughout Italy. We are a member of STEP, the world’s leading professional association for trust and estate practitioners.
If you would like to discuss your estate plan with us or if you are considering making an Italian will, please get in touch at: email@example.com
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