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Inheritance Law And Tax in Italy

The Italian Succession process can be labyrinthine

At an extremely difficult time, those left behind find they need to navigate their way through a maze of bureaucratic procedures, red tape and paperwork. It is easy to get lost in Italian inheritance law without help.

The Italian succession process involves a series of steps that allow legitimate heirs to obtain possession of a decedent’s movable and immovable assets and bank accounts.

Firstly, heirs will need to gather all the required documentation (death certificate, residence certificate, will, bank statements and others). In order to proceed, having all the paperwork together is crucial.

Declaration of succession

Secondly, heirs will need to prepare a declaration of succession. This comprises all the assets in the deceased’s estate. Heirs must submit their declaration of succession to the Italian tax authorities.

Italian Civil Code regulates succession. It consists of transferring assets, bank accounts and properties to heirs, who are also responsible for managing any liabilities, debts and back taxes.

The Italian tax authorities should receive the declaration of succession within one year from the deceased’s date of death. Where the value of an estate is below €100.000 and does not comprise property, a declaration is not necessary.

What is taxable?

The third step is paying inheritance tax. In accordance with 2019 inheritance tax law, heirs who inherit Italian assets are liable for tax based on the assets in their declaration of succession.

Italian inheritance law stipulates that the following assets are liable for tax:

Immovable property (houses, shops, buildings), agricultural or building land.

Movable property, including boats, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust funds, etc.

Companies and shareholdings, with the exception of cases provided for by law which exempt heirs from the inheritance tax.

How is Italian inheritance tax calculated?

Once the Italian tax authorities receive a declaration of succession, they calculates applicable inheritance tax. The calculation considers any deductibles (franchigie). That is to say, the calaculation takes into account any thresholds for exemption from applicable tax[1].

The law governing taxation of inheritances and gifts is the “Consolidated Tax Registration Law” (Legislative Decree No. 346 of October 31, 1990).

For tax purposes, three bands have been created, based on the degree of kinship, for each of which a different rate of tax is applicable. Tax rates are determined on the overall value of the assets and rights – net of any charges borne by the beneficiary[2].

Band 1 inheritance law tax:

Spouse, registered partner and relatives in a direct line (parents and children, children and parents, grandparents and grandchildren)

Tax: 4% with an excess of €1,000,000 for each beneficiary

Band 2 inheritance law tax:

Other relatives up to the fourth degree (brothers and sisters, uncles and nephews, cousins).

Tax: 6% with a franchise of €100,000 for each beneficiary;

Band 3 inheritance law tax:

Others (relatives beyond the fourth degree and unrelated people such as friends).

Tax: 8% without any deductibles.

Finally …

As you can see, Italian Inheritance law and tax is complex. In addition, it may differ from case to case. Because of this, it is worth seeking expert support. For a more comprehensive clarification of Italian inheritance law and tax, you might find our free guide useful.

At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of experience managing Italian inheritance matters. If you are feeling unsure about anything to do with inheritance law and tax and need advice, please get in touch with us. We are here to help.

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[1] The Italian Revenue Agency automatically applies the presumption of 10%. This assumes that the value of your inheritance is higher by at least 10%, since an inheritance would generally include items such as jewellery and movable assets not expressly declared. To avoid the presumption of 10%, attach a detailed inventory of assets to the declaration of succession.

[2] In addition to the above, even where no inheritance tax is due, Italian government fees to transfer Italian real estate holdings apply. Your inheritance will therefore be subject to mortgage and cadastral taxes in addition to inheritance tax, where applicable. These taxes are based on the value of property included in your inheritance. Tax is the same as you would pay for example, in case of a sale of property.

Mortgage Tax:2% of real estate property value as set by cadastral records, not the appraised value, for a minimum of €200.

Cadastral Tax:1% of real estate property value as set by cadastral records, not the appraised value, for a minimum of €200.

 

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Italian Estate Tax

Italian estate tax (imposta di successione)

Italian estate taxAlthough the government abolished Italian estate tax in 2001, it subsequently reintroduced it in 2006.

Italian estate tax is therefore applicable to succession cases prior to October 25, 2001 and those from October 3, 2006 onwards.

In order to comply with the fiscal rules of inheritance law, heirs need in the first instance to file a statement of succession with the Italian tax authorities.

Who is liable for Italian estate tax?

If the deceased was resident in Italy at the time of death, Italian Inheritance Tax applies to the deceased’s worldwide assets. However, if the deceased lived outside Italy, Italian estate tax is only payable on assets located in Italy.

Of course, in order to prevent issues with double taxation, Italy has a number of cross border taxation arrangements in place, including with the UK and the USA.

Unity of inheritance

Italian inheritance law is based on the principle of ‘unity of inheritance’. To clarify this, the law of the country of last domicile deals with any movable assets. Movable assets could, for instance be furniture, cars, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust and managed funds.

On the other hand, immovable assets are dealt with according to the law of the country wherever they are located. Examples of immovable assets include houses, shops, buildings, agricultural or building land.

How does Italian estate tax work?

While Italian estate tax appears less onerous, in terms of payments, compared to some other EU Member States, it is nevertheless complex.

In effect, Italian estate tax applies to the net value of the deceased’s estate. This therefore, includes not only movable but also immovable assets.

In addition, equity in non-family businesses and shareholdings in companies are taxable. However, there are exceptions to this.

Indeed, because the range of taxable assets is so broad, it is important to review the balance of ownership of your assets in the above mentioned categories. Above all, if you have children or you stand to inherit assets from an Italian estate.

It may moreover, also be worthwhile considering property ownership changes to protect your assets. In addition, some careful estate planning for the transfer of assets within the family is crucial.

Italian estate Tax on property

As far as a property is concerned, it is important to bear in mind the income value of Italian real estate property. This is calculated on the capitalised cadastral annuity.

In order to ascertain the cadastral value of a property, re-evaluation coefficients are as follows.

– Agricultural land: €112,50

– Buildings – Cat. C/1 and E: € 42,84

– Buildings – Cat. A/10 and D: €63,00

– Buildings – Cat. B: €147,00

– Other buildings: €126,00

– Habitable buildings, primary residences and relative appurtenances: €115,50

Depending on the relationship to the deceased and the category of assets, tax is applied proportionally to individual heirs or legatees.

The table below summarises quotas and exemptions from inheritance tax relating to Italian real estate property:

BENEFICIARY INHERITANCE TAX ASSET CATEGORY REGISTRATION TAX CADASTRAL TAX
Spouse and/or Children Value of assets & rights: 4%

Below €1 million value, tax-exempt.

  • Primary Residence
  • Other property
  • Other assets
€200

2%

€ 168

1%

Siblings Value of assets & rights: 6%

Below €1 million value, tax-exempt.

  • Primary Residence
  • Other property
  • Other assets
€200

2%

€ 168

1%

4th Degree Relative Value of assets & rights: 6%
  • Primary Residence
  • Other property
  • Other assets
€200

2%

€ 168

1%

Other Value of assets & rights: 8%

 

  • Primary Residence
  • Other property
  • Other assets
€200

2%

€ 168

1%

Additionally, in accordance with the Italian Disabilities Act, the threshold from which disabled beneficiaries are liable for inheritance tax is €1.5 million.

Furthermore, quotas mentioned in the table above also apply to lifetime use (usufruct) of a property title deed.

What is excluded from Italian inheritance tax?

As previously mentioned, according to Italian inheritance tax law, certain categories of assets are exempt from Italian inheritance tax. These include government bonds and unit linked whole of life insurance policies. Additionally, shareholdings in family businesses and certain charitable donations are exempt.

EU regulations

Choice of law

In addition to Italian inheritance law, it is also worth mentioning EU succession regulations introduced in 2015.  In brief, these regulations provide testators with an opportunity to amend the Italian principle of unity of inheritance.

As a result of EU succession regulations, non-Italians who are resident in Italy can make a choice of law in their will. In other words, a testator can stipulate that they want the law of their own country, or nationality, to govern their Italian-based assets.

Furthermore, EU regulations do not restrict the choice of law to EU nationals resident in Italy. For example, a US national could nominate US law to apply to the succession of their property in Italy.

It should however be mentioned, that nominating a country law needs careful consideration. Given that a testator needs to take in to account matters such as foreign matrimonial regimes, usufruct, tax consequences, joint ownership structures and other foreign proprietary rights with respect to an estate, it would be wise to seek advice before acting.

European Certificate of Succession

In order to facilitate cross border successions, an additional benefit of the EU succession regulations is the European Certificate of Succession. While this document is issued by the relevant authority dealing with the succession, heirs, legatees, executors and administrators of an estate can use it to prove their status and thereby exercise their rights or powers in other EU Member States.

Finally …

As can be seen, Italian inheritance is a complex matter. While there are actions that you can take to mitigate the impact of Italian inheritance tax law on estates, because each case is different, you should seek professional support and advice.

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 estate tax questions or if would like to discuss your situation.

You may also be interested in Inheritance Law and Taxes

Italian Inheritance Law Services

Italian Inheritance law: De Tullio Law Firm's servicesItalian Succession 

For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm​ has been providing clients worldwide with clear-sighted Italian inheritance law services.

Roman law

As Italian succession law is based on the principles of Roman Law, it provides some protection to close members of the family. This therefore partially limits the right of the testator to dispose of his/her own assets.

Testamentary Succession is defined as the assignment of hereditary assets in compliance with the wishes of the testator as set out in an Italian Will. Whereas, in the absence of a Will, inheritance is devolved following the principles of Legal Succession. In other words, where there is no will, succession law gives rights to a number of legitimate heirs. This means that certain heirs have the legal right to inherit a portion of the deceased’s estate.

Known as legitimate, reserved or forced heirs, these beneficiaries are the spouse or registered partner of the deceased. Thereafter, beneficiaries include relatives identified by law as those closest to the deceased. For instance, children, parents and relatives up to the 6th degree of connection.

Italian succession law reserves a significant quota of inheritance for these beneficiaries. Because they are defined as forced heirs, it means that a testator cannot exclude them from inheriting, even with a Will.

However, when drafting an Italian will, the testator is free to dispose of a part of his assets known as the, “disposable quota”. This allows the testator to assign part of their assets to non‐relatives or organisations such as charities.

Our Italian inheritance law services

– Italian inheritance rights assessment

– Drafting Italian Wills

– Claiming / recovering inherited Italian property

– Italian property, titles, records searches

– Legal support for the sale of inherited Italian properties

– Obtaining appraisal and or a survey of inherited Italian property

– Determining Italian inheritance tax

– Obtaining copies of public Wills

– Challenging Wills drafted in conflict with the Italian legislation

– Managing Italian probate

– Registering inherited property in the name of heirs

– Obtaining release of inherited funds deposited in Italian banks

Read more about our Inheritance Services.

Finally …

If the deceased was resident in Italy at the time of death, Italian Inheritance Tax applies to the deceased’s worldwide assets. However, if the deceased lived outside Italy, Italian estate tax is only payable on assets located in Italy.

If you own assets in Italy, we recommend that you draft an Italian Will. And, if you need help with Italian estate planning, we can support you.

At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of expertise with managing cross border succession and estate planning matters throughout Italy. We offer a full range of Italian inheritance law services. In addition, our firm is also a full member of STEP, the world’s leading association for trust and estate practitioners.

For additional information about Italian succession and inheritance, you may find our Italian Succession Guide useful.

If we can be of assistance, please get in touch at: info@detulliolawfirm.com

 

You may also be interested in our inheritance videos.

 

Reserved Acceptance – Italian Inheritance

Debts on an Italian inheritance

Accepting an Italian inheritance also implies taking on responsibility for any debts the decedent leaves. Heirs risk having to paying any debts they inherit from their own pockets. For this reason, Italian law confers a choice of whether to renounce or accept an inheritance. There is however, also a third way to mitigate risks: reserved acceptance. To illustrate the concept of reserved acceptance, below we provide a brief case study on this matter.

Silvia and Eric Jones owned a property in Liguria and were resident in Italy for many years. Sadly, in close succession, Silvia and Eric died.

The Jones’ sons, Larry and Tom, got in touch with De Tullio Law Firm about their parents’ Italian Wills. They had concerns regarding what happens when heirs are unsure exactly what they are inheriting. Larry and Tom believed that their parents had a lot of debts. They worry they will have to pay these debts if they accept the inheritance.

Because heirs have the possibility to accept an inheritance using reserved acceptance – “beneficio d’inventario”, it means that Larry and Tom will only be liable to pay their parents’ debts on any sum they inherit.

What is reserved acceptance?

If you are an heir, but you are unsure whether the inheritance contains more liabilities than assets, you can use, “beneficio d’inventario” (reserved acceptance). This avoids any merger between your estate and the decedent’s. Thus you will not be liable to pay off the decedent’s debts with your own money.

If, for example, you inherit €10,000, compared to a debt of €20,000, you will only be liable to pay the debt on the sum you have inherited, namely the €10,000.

Reserved acceptance is however not a good idea if an heir is certain that liabilities outweigh inherited assets (unless the heir wishes to pay debts in order to honour the decedent’s memory). Where certainty of debt exists, renouncing the inheritance is a more appropriate solution.

It is worth mentioning that certain people have to accept an inheritance through “beneficio d’inventario”. These people include minors under the age of eighteen, people in care and legal entities, including the State, associations and foundations.

How does reserved acceptance work?

You need a notarial deed for reserved acceptance. Alternatively, you can make a declaration to a clerk of the court in the district where the decdent had their last domicile.

Finally …

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.

If you are unsure about any aspect of an Italian inheritance, please contact us. We will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.

What is a Biotestamento (Living Will)?

A living will, biotestamento, allows a person to make decisions about medical treatment

Italian living will biotestamento

Biotestamento legislation in Italy is in two parts.

The first, more general part, deals with giving informed consent on medical treatments. The second part of the law specifically provides for a number of DATs (disposizioni anticipate di trattamento).

What are biotestamento DATs?

DATs allow a person to indicate wishes in relation to medical treatments in the event s/he is no longer conscious due to an accident or illness.

Every adult over the age of 18 years old, of sound mind, who does not expect to be capable of self-determination in the future, may make use of DATs. By filling in the relevant paperwork, a person expresses his/her wishes relating to medical treatments. These include consent or refusal of artificial hydration and feeding.

DATs are legally binding on medical staff unless they are manifestly inappropriate or non-compliant with the patient’s current medical condition or new therapies have become available since the person signed DATs.

DATs must be in the form of a notarised deed or as a certified private instrument.

Informed consent

The law on Biotestamento protects a person’s right to life, health, dignity and self-determination. It stipulates that no medical treatment may start or continue without the patient’s freely given and informed consent. All patients have the right to know their health conditions. Furthermore, they must receive exhaustive, up to date and comprehensible information about the diagnosis, prognosis, benefits and risks of diagnostic tests and of prescribed medical treatments. In addition patients have a right to understand any alternative treatments available and the consequences connected with refusal of treatment.

Possible interruption of artificial feeding and hydration

Every adult, over the age of 18 years old, of mind, has the right to fully or partially refuse any treatment or to revoke consent for treatment at any time. Feeding and hydration are comparable to medical treatments. It is therefore possible to refuse them or request that they stop.

Refusal of treatment and conscientious objection by doctors

The patient has the right to refuse medical care. Doctors can however conscientiously object to this. Therefore, if a patient refuses medical care and a doctor deems this will cause death, a doctor is under no professional obligation to fulfil the patient’s wishes. The patient, however, may turn to another doctor working in the same hospital or healthcare facility.

Futile medical care and deep sedation

A doctor must endeavour to alleviate a patient’s suffering. Even if the patient has refused to grant or withdrawn his/her consent to medical care. Where there is a short life expectancy or imminent death prognosis, the doctor must, however, abstain from unreasonably persisting in dispensing medical care. In case of illnesses resistant to medical treatments, with the patient’s consent, the doctor may resort to continuous deep palliative sedation associated with pain therapy.

Psychological support

Should the patient decide to revoke or refuse medical care, the doctor must inform the patient of the consequences associated with this decision. The doctor must also inform the patient about any possible alternative treatments. In addition, medical staff should promote all actions to support the patient, including psychological support services.

Minors and disabled persons

In order that they can express their wishes, minors and disabled persons must receive all information in an appropriate manner. Informed consent on medical treatments for minors is contingent on consent or refusal by the parents or legal guardian. However, the patient’s wishes must also be considered.

Fiduciaries

A patient may also appoint someone to represent them in all relations with doctors and medical facilities.

Finally …

At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of expertise with managing cross border succession and estate planning matters throughout Italy. In addition, our firm is also a full member of STEP, the world’s leading association for trust and estate practitioners.

If you need any advice regarding living wills or last wills, we are here to help. Please get in touch with us.

 

 

How Can An Italian inheritance Solicitor Help You?

Italian inheritance is complex. Get the right advice

If you are the beneficiary of assets in Italy, and you have decided to accept your Italian inheritance, it is a good idea to use a specialist Italian Inheritance solicitor to support you through the probate process. The Italian inheritance process can be complex so, obtaining the right legal advice and having the right lawyer on your side will be massively beneficial in terms of time and expense. Even more so, if you are not resident in Italy.

Why engage the services of an Italian inheritance lawyer?

Italian inheritance solicitor

A specialist Italian Inheritance lawyer will act on your behalf – and in your interests to protect your inheritance. This means that you can be certain of having a calm, rational, professional and trustworthy presence in Italy. You will also receive sound advice for all the issues that arise in your case throughout the inheritance process.

The Italian probate procedure is not always straightforward. It can be frustrating and time-consuming. A specialist Italian Inheritance lawyer will be able to guide you through all the legal and tax issues.

You may need to prove legal entitlement to your Italian inheritance. Your solicitor will be able to help you gather all the necessary paperwork to evidence your rights.

Although most inheritance cases go uncontested, some cases do end up in court. Where claims arise, it is wise to settle out of court. This helps to reduce the cost. However, if your case does end up in court, having an attorney on your side can be enormously advantageous. In fact, having your own attorney will help ensure that all of your documents are in order, strengthen your legal position and add knowledge to your case.

Finally …

Because the loss of a loved one makes families feel fragile and emotionally vulnerable, dealing with inheritance issues on top of loss can feel very stressful. Having a solicitor with legal expertise in Italian inheritance matters will help relieve some of that strain.

We have produced a comprehensive Guide to Italian Inheritance. It contains legal advice about the Italian Inheritance process, which we hope you will find useful.

If you would like to consult an Italian inheritance lawyer about your case, please contact us.

You may also be interested in How to write a Will

Inheritance Law in Italy

Italian Inheritance Law – An Overview

Property Inheritance Laws in ItalyInheritance law in Italy follows the Roman Law principle. This means it provides some protection to close members of the family. This therefore, partially limits the right of the testator to dispose of assets.

Testamentary Succession consists of the assignment of hereditary assets in compliance with the wishes of the testator as set out in an Italian Will. In the absence of a Will, inheritance devolves following the principles of Legal Succession.

The rights of heirs in Italian inheritance law

Where there is no Will, succession law gives rights to a number of legitimate heirs to the assets of the deceased. These heirs are the spouse of the deceased and relatives that the law identifies as starting from closest kin to those up to a 6th degree of connection.

Inheritance law in Italy reserves a significant quota of an inheritance to very close relatives. The deceased’s spouse, registered partner, ascendants and descendants are all known as, “forced heirs”. This means that the testator cannot exclude them even if there is a Will. When drafting an Italian will, the testator is only able to dispose of a part of his assets. The testator can assign this, “disposable quota” to non-relatives.

The basis of Italian inheritance law is unity of inheritance. This distinguishes between moveable and non-moveable assets.

To clarify, the law of the country of last domicile deals with any movable assets. Movable assets could, for instance be furniture, cars, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust and managed funds.

On the other hand, the law of the country where an immovable asset is located applies. Examples of immovable assets include houses, shops, buildings, agricultural or building land.

Therefore, the law of the country where a property is located will apply, unless in accordance with EU Regulations, a choice of country law is stipulated in a will.

The Italian succession procedure formally ends when all assets, rights and pending payments have been transferred to the rightful heirs either by mutual agreement or as consequence of judicial proceedings.

Finally …

For more in depth information about Italian succession, you might find our Succession Guide useful. If you would like to discuss a case, you can reach us here for a free consultation.

Cross border inheritance in Italy

Italian inheritance law

Cross border inheritance in ItalyMany of our clients own property at home and here in Italy. We frequently receive questions about how cross border inheritance in Italy works.

Law no. 218 of 31st May, 1995 regulates the field of Italian inheritance law in the framework of international private law.

Habitual residence of the deceased at the time of death determines the national law which governs succession.

Italian Inheritance legislation adopts the principle of “unity of inheritance”. This principle differs substantially compared to legislation in common law countries. Italian law makes a distinction between a division of movable and immovable assets. Movable assets are subject to the law of the last domicile or last residence of the decedent. Immovable assets are subject to “lex rei sitae” (law of the country where property is located).

One of the most important consequences of asset divisions is that, if a decedent’s estate includes properties located in different countries, the succession of each individual property could be regulated by the law of the country where the property is located.

Cross border deferment to the law of another country

Italian rules governing conflicts of law consider the possibility that the national law of a deceased foreigner might defer to the law of another country.

Here is a practical example. A deceased English national resident in England owned property in Italy. The law of England and Wales therefore governs succession. However, in accordance with the conflict of law of England and Wales, the law applicable to properties abroad is, “lex rei sitae (law of the country where the property is located). This means, Italian succession law governs the assets in Italy.

In 2015, the EU introduced regulations whereby a testator can elect which country law should regulate all assets. This could be the law of the country in which the testator is habitually resident or the country of the testator’s nationality. This choice of law has to be formally expressed in a Will. In addition, it must not prejudice the rights that the Italian law provides for forced heirs, “legittimari”. These are members of family, resident in Italy when the testator dies. Although it may be against the testator’s wishes, forced heirs must receive a legally determined share of the estate.

An Italian will is the best option to manage cross border inheritance in Italy

If you own assets at home as well as in Italy, it is highly advisable to draft an Italian Will for your Italian assets. In order to limit the consequences of “legal succession”, you should seek legal advice in this matter.  If a decedent died intestate, that is without a Will, Italian Inheritance law determines which relatives of the deceased have a right to inherit an estate. This will primarily be the spouse, the legitimate and natural children, and any ascendants. Where no heirs are traceable, Italian assets go to the Italian State.

Finally …

If you would like more details about Italian succession law and procedures, we have produced a comprehensive Italian Inheritance Guide, which we hope you will find helpful. If you would like to discuss a specific case, we are here to help.

Italian inheritance lawyers. What is their role?

What are Italian inheritance lawyers?

Specialist Italian inheritance lawyers assist with the execution of Wills and the complex legal procedures relating to Italian inheritance issues.

How can Italian inheritance lawyers help?

Italian inheritance lawyers

Engaging the services of a specialist inheritance lawyer in Italy simplifies the administration of an estate. This includes gathering all the documentation relating to property, assets and/or land. It speeds up the whole inheritance process, from identification and location of beneficiaries entitled to the estate to tax payments and distribution of assets.

An Italian inheritance lawyer can help draft certified translations of documents, appoint a local notary and manage all required procedures with the relevant Italian authorities to ensure that assets are transferred to the names of the entitled beneficiaries.

Furthermore, an Italian inheritance lawyer can advise whether there are any claims or rights on assets and/or properties according to Italian Inheritance law. A lawyer can conduct searches for properties, titles, deeds and records, obtain an appraisal or a survey of a property with the support of qualified professionals to appraise the value of the deceased’s estate and determine whether there are any debts and liabilities.

Moreover, they can provide advice regarding the procedures for accepting or renouncing an inheritance and the options available to beneficiaries according to Italian law.

A lawyer will provide legal support if you need to:

– obtain a copy of a public Will;

– challenge a Will drafted in conflict with Italian legislation in the Italian Courts;

– manage the whole administration process;

– register an inherited property in the name of the heir(s) or;

– if the heir(s) choose to sell inherited properties and or assets.

Italian Inheritance fiscal and financial matters

Italian inheritance lawyers can also help determine taxation connected with an inheritance.

In effect, Italian inheritance tax applies to the entire net value of the deceased’s estate. This therefore includes both movable and immovable assets.

Immovable assets include houses, shops, buildings, agricultural or building land.

Movable assets could for example include, boats, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust funds. In addition, companies and shareholdings in companies are taxable. However, there are exceptions to this.

Basic estate tax in Italy, “Imposta sulle Successioni” equates to 8% of the estate. However, estate tax rates depend on the relationship of the beneficiary to the deceased.

Where an estate includes bank accounts connected to an inheritance case, an Italian inheritance lawyer can help release accounts.

In addition, a lawyer can ensure the correct distribution of funds to beneficiaries.

Finally …

For more detailed guidance about Italian inheritance, you might find our Guide helpful.

At De Tullio Law Firm, we have over 55 years of expertise managing cross border succession and estate planning matters. Our multilingual team is present throughout Italy. Our firm is also a full member of STEP, the world’s leading association for trust and estate practitioners.

If you would like to discuss a case with us, please contact us for a free consultation.

You may also like our inheritance video guides.

Searching for An Italian Will

Italian WillWhere there’s a will …

Clients often engage the De Tullio law Firm team when they need assistance with winding-up an estate in Italy. Occasionally, we receive instruction to administer an estate where executors or beneficiaries have been searching for an Italian will, but are unable to locate it.

Sometimes, there may be a copy, but heirs cannot find the original. For example, the deceased may have told relatives that they had a will but, the heirs cannot find it amongst the deceased’s belongings.

Winding-up an Italian estate cannot begin until we find the original version of a last will. If a will doesn’t come to light, the decedent is intestate, in which case the State will decide how to divide the estate.

Types of Italian will

In Italy, we have three main types of will. The simplest type of will is a Holographic Will (Testamento Olografo). For this to be legally valid, the testator must hand write the document, date and sign it. No witnesses are necessary. It can either be deposited with a lawyer, notary or, be kept by the testator.

Then there is a Formal Will (Testamento Pubblico). A notary draws up the will upon the testator’s instructions. It requires a witness and is deposited with a notary until the testator’s death.

Thirdly, a Sealed or Secret Will (Testamento Segreto). This is hand written by the testator, placed in a sealed envelope and deposited with a notary until the testator’s death.

All three types of will must be in Italian to comply with Italian civil code. To avoid potentially significant difficulties following death of a testator, we recommend engaging a lawyer to assist you. In addition, we advise getting your will translated into your own language. This will avoid any potentially costly misinterpretation of your wishes later on.

Where to start searching for an Italian will?

If you believe someone had a will deposited with a notary, you can submit a request accompanied by the death certificate to the District Chamber of Notaries (Consiglio Notarile distrettuale). This organisation will forward a search request to all notaries within the area where the deceased was resident.

Searching for an Italian will at the General Will Registry

It is also advisable to submit a request to the General Will Register. This is part of the main notarial archive office which retains deeds and Wills deposited by notaries who have ceased business operations.

The General Will Registry Bureau (Registro Generale dei Testamenti) headquarters are at the Main Office of the Notary Archives (Ufficio Centrale degli Archivi Notarili) in Rome.

Through the General Will Registry Bureau you can find out if the deceased had a will in Italy or abroad. The Bureau can submit a request for a decedent’s will to the relevant authorities abroad if they are signatories to the International Basel Convention. Other than Italy, the countries which have signed the Basel Convention are: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.

The General Will Registry holds the following records:

– Formal wills

– Sealed / Secret wills

– Holographic wills, formally held by a notary

– Publication of Holographic Wills, whether or not deposited with a notary

– Withdrawal of all types of will, formally deposited with a notary

– Suspension of previous arrangements by means of a new will

Finally …

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.

If you need any assistance searching for an Italian Will, please get in touch.

If you are looking for further information about the Italian inheritance process, you might find our comprehensive Italian Inheritance Guide helpful.