Partition of an Italian estate. Inheritance Law
How does the partition of an Italian Estate work?
In this article we explore the partition of an Italian estate. A testator’s estate comprises assets and rights.
Whenever there is more than one heir in an Italian will, this triggers a condition of joint-ownership of rights and duties.
The co-heirs receive the estate in accordance with their inheritance quota.
This quota may be in accordance with a will or, where the deceased was intestate, in accordance with Italian inheritance law. Beneficiaries inherit not only assets but also take on any liabilities of the testator.
Partition of an Italian estate refers to the division of assets and liabilities between beneficiaries
At this point, it should be noted that each co-heir has the right to request the partition of an estate at any time following the death of the deceased, unless otherwise stipulated in a will.
As a result, all co-heirs, or their successors (legatees), must take part in the partition of an estate. Failure of one or more beneficiaries to participate, will render their rights invalid. As a matter of fact, absentee co-heirs cannot later rectify this.
According to Italian legislation, the partition of an estate can be executed through three methods:
1. Amicable partition
In order to convert co-heirs’ legitimate rights to a quota of the estate into rights on single assets from the estate, an amicable partition can be made. This would be in the form of a contract. The contract then ensures that the value of the assets individually assigned (known as de facto quotas) equate to the value of the joint ownership quotas.
2. Judicial partition
Should co-heirs disagree on the the partition of an estate, each of them can refer it to the courts. A judgment regarding the partition of an estate may include a number of options. For example:
INVENTORY OF THE INHERITED ESTATE
This includes all the assets and/or liabilities left to the co-heirs by the deceased.
APPRAISAL OF ASSETS
This determines the market value of assets. The testator may have nominated a person or organisation in a will to conduct the appraisal. No estimates are necessary if assets belong in the same asset category. However, in other cases, the estimate of individual assets is essential in order to make portions of value corresponding to the quota of each co-heir in the decedent’s will. If the decedent died intestate, apportionment is according to Italian inheritance law.
POSSIBLE SALE OF INDIVISIBLE ASSETS
Prior to the partition of an Italian estate, it may be necessary to sell real estate property or to assign property to one of the co-heirs in return for payment. Co-heirs would then receive the proceeds to make up their share of inheritance.
3. Testamentary partition
A testator can stipulate in a will, either the portions to assign to each co-heir, or can simply lay down terms in order to set quotas.
Because the effective value of a testator’s assets may not cover the quotas stipulated in a will and co-heirs dispute the partition of an estate, they have the same recourse: amicable or judicial partition.
As a co-heir, it may be difficult for you to manage succession procedures or participate in the partition of the estate in Italy. You can confer a Power of Attorney to sign inheritance documents and paperwork. A specialist Italian inheritance lawyer can assist you and will work in your best interests.
You might find De Tullio Law Firm’s comprehensive Guide to Italian Inheritance useful. If you would like to discuss your situation, you can get in touch with us for a free consultation.
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