Drafting a Will in Italy
Recognition of a Foreign Will in Italy and Important Aspects of Italian Inheritance Law Regulation
As a matter of law, Italy recognises international wills. However, it is also well known that Italian Succession Law is, to put it mildly, a little daunting for foreigners.
Moreover, it is important to stress the fact that according to Italian law:
- members of the Testator’s immediate family (spouse and children) have a mandatory statutory minimum entitlement (called: “legittima”);
- it is provided in detail by the civil code what will be happening in case a beneficiary predeceased the Testator, and he or she has failed to provide otherwise.
Why should you Draft an Italian Will
Therefore, drafting an Italian will, and set there up what will happen to your Italian assets, usually allows you:
- to choose by which law it will be regulated;
- to foresee what will happen in case one the will’s beneficiary predeceased you;
- to have a document written in Italian that can be easily understood by any Italian public or tax office;
- to facilitate your relatives and everyone involved in the submission of the declaration of succession (“dichiarazione di successione”): a very important document that must be submitted within 12 months by the time of the Testator’s death.
Focus: Will drafted by an European Citizen
In 2012, EU Regulation n.650/2012 (which does not legally bind Ireland and Denmark) on international successions has partially modified Italian Private International Law relating to succession, providing that the law regulating the will is going to be:
- by default, the law of the Country where the Testator had his or her “habitual residence at the time of death” (the meaning of which remains unclear and the Regulation does not give any definition of it);
- the one chosen by the Testator. In this case it could be either the law ofthe State whose nationality the Testator possessed at the time he made the choice or at the time of death.
Focus: Testator from the United Kingdom
English Private International Law on succession provides that in case of immovable property being included within the Testator’s Estate, the law applicable is going to be that of the Country where said assets are located. Therefore, if Testator had immovable assets in Italy, Italian law would regulate the will.
Having highlighted all these problematic questions, finding an Italian lawyer to draft your will is of the highest importance and we are willing and ready to help you to do so.