A Guide To The Steps To Take If You Inherit A Property In Italy

Publication Date29 June 2021
SubjectFamily and Matrimonial, Wills/ Intestacy/ Estate Planning
Law FirmGiambrone & Partners
AuthorGiambrone & Partners LLP

Each year a number of people with Italian heritage unexpected find that they have inherited a property from a distant Italian relative, sometimes, from someone they barely know and have never met. The situation can arise if a person names you as a beneficiary in their will or if there is no will, the strict laws of succession in Italy, often described as forced heirship, where the deceased's estate automatically passes to the relatives in strict order of succession dependant on the proximity between the deceased and the beneficiary within the family. If a person has outlived their immediate family then more distant relatives must be sought.

Many people are delighted to inherit such an asset, however, this comes with responsibilities and legal formalities which must be assumed and addressed. Unlike the UK, in Italy, the beneficiary steps straight into responsibility for the debts and taxes attached to the property so it is imperative that you act immediately to address all the legal requirements necessary. If you consider that financial responsibilities attached to the property are too great you can renounce the inheritance and the estate will cascade down from you to the next closest relative.

If you make the decision to accept the inheritance it is strongly advised that you should instruct probate lawyers experienced in Italian succession law, particularly if you do not speak Italian. Giambrone's wills and probate team can assist in both in Italy and in the UK. There may not be the necessity to travel to Italy as our lawyers can act on your behalf through the medium of a Power of Attorney.

On acceptance of your inheritance, you must start the process by obtaining a Grant of Probate from the Italian authorities. This must be obtained within one year of the death. In order to obtain a Grant of Probate the following documents are required:

  • A death certificate for the deceased
  • Documentation relating to the deceased, together...

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