What is unclaimed Italian property?
Between 1861 and 1985 over 29 million Italians emigrated to other countries. About 18 million Italians permanently settled abroad. Today several tens of millions people living abroad have Italian heritage. When Italian emigrants went abroad, they often left property and land in Italy. This is now unclaimed Italian property.
Many people think that the Italian State confiscated unclaimed property. This is a myth. The reality is that the property is still here in Italy and the original owners are still on the title deeds.
There are many thousands of unclaimed properties and parcels of land throughout Italy. In many cases, the descendants of emigrants living outside Italy could still claim these properties.
Over the years, descendants of Italian emigrants have contacted us for help and advice. They are trying to find their ancestors’ property in Italy. Sadly, in some cases, people have spent considerable time and substantial amounts of money before contacting us.
We have heard about people receiving letters from organisations asking for an upfront fee and promising help with locating and retrieving an unclaimed Italian property.
Needless to say, many people never hear anything once they have paid the fee. So, if you get a letter like this, be cautious. Look up the company and check credentials before you part with any money.
Seek qualified help with unclaimed Italian property
In the first instance, legitimate researchers will seek unclaimed Italian property through sources made available under freedom of information laws. For example, since 2014, the Italian Tax Authority has made it possible for the public to search online for land registry records and titles. You will need to register an account, then supply information such as:
– Name of presumed owner, even if deceased (maiden name, if female).
– Exact town of birth in Italy.
– Name of father of the presumed owner.
– Date of Birth (year) of the presumed owner (records only available post 1880).
Some people try to take a DIY approach. However interpreting search results can however make this difficult. In addition, land registry results may not always be accurate. They could, for example, be out of date or show the name of a previous owner.
If you know, or believe that your family has unclaimed property in Italy and you need help, make sure you engage the services of reputable and experienced professionals.
For over 55 years, De Tullio Law Firm has been providing international clients with independent legal advice. We offer services in all the major fields of Italian law with particular expertise in real estate, residency, family law and inheritance matters. If you would like to discuss your situation, we are here to help. Please get in touch with us.