Inheritance in Italy

The particular procedure through which all legal aspects concerning the deceased are transferred to the heirs is called succession.

Italian inheritance law is based on the principle to give some protection to close members of the family, partially limiting the right of the testator to dispose of his/her own assets. There’s  a significant quota of the inheritance that the testator cannot prejudice with his Will.

He/she  cannot exclude close family members completely from the inheritance.

We have Testamentary succession and Legal succession.

Testamentary succession is the assignment of the hereditary assets in compliance with the decisions of the testator as set out in a Will.

In absence of a Will the inheritance is devolved following the principles of the Legal Succession.

Under Italian succession law certain members of the family, forced heirs,  are automatically entitled to a share of the deceased’s assets at the time of death.

This compulsory share or forced heirship is called legittima.

Who is entitled to the fixed share?

  • Husband or wife, also separated, if he/she was not declared responsible for the separation. No right for a divorced partner.
  • Children: legitimate, legitimated, illegitimate or adopted.
  • Ascendants: when no children (or their ascendants) are alive at the time of the deceased’s death.
  • Relatives identified by the law starting from the closer ones until the 6th degree of connection.
  • In absence of relatives within the 6th degree of connection the inheritance is devolved to the Italian State.

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