European Certificate of Succession
What is Brussels IV?
Since August 2015, a major step to facilitate cross-border successions has been the adoption of EU Regulations which make it easier for people to handle the legal aspects of an international succession. Regulation (EU) No 650/2012, also known as, “Brussels IV”. Amongst other things, Brussels IV introduces a European Certificate of Succession (ECS).
Heirs, legatees, executors of Wills and administrators of the estate can use an ECS to prove their status and exercise their rights or powers in other EU Member States.
Each EU Member State has nominated relevant authorities to issue ECS. It is valid in all EU Member States without the need for any additional procedures. The ECS is also valid in the issuing country.
How can you request a European Certificate of Succession in Italy?
To qualify for an ECS in Italy, the deceased must have been habitually resident in Italy or had Italian citizenship at the time of death.
in Italy, heirs, legatees, executors of Wills and administrators of the estate can obtain a European Certificate of Succession from an Italian notary public. Regardless of where the deceased’s assets are in Italy, you can request an ECS from any Italian notary public.
A European Certificate of Succession for Cross border inheritance
One of the key concepts of Brussels IV is that one law should apply to the entire estate administration, no matter where assets are located.
This means, for example, that if Italian law applies to an inheritance including assets held in Italy and France, Italian inheritance law would override French inheritance law. The French authorities could use an ECS to communicate what they have established. This would then allow the Italian authorities to deal with the administration of assets.
What happens if the deceased was habitually resident in a non-EU country? For instance, if the deceased lived in the UK but had assets in Italy? In this case, an Italian notary may ask you to provide an ECS from the UK. Because non-EU countries are not party to Brussels IV, this is not however an option. That said, there are acceptable alternatives. In this particular example, the preferred option would be a certificate of English law. You should ask a lawyer familiar with cross border estate administration to draft and sign the certificate.
At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of expertise managing cross border 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.
Please contact us if you have any cross border inheritance questions or if would like to discuss your situation.
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