Whether you’ve personally invested in property in Italy and are contemplating its fate upon your passing, or if you find yourself connected to a property your relatives owned in Italy and share an interest in understanding Italian inheritance laws, this article aims to shed light on the intricacies of these laws. We will explore the implications for foreign property owners and provide guidance on the steps to take should you find yourself inheriting Italian property.

What happens to the property of a deceased person?
In Italy, the destiny of a deceased person’s property is shaped by two key avenues: legal inheritance or testamentary provisions. Legal inheritance, governed by Italian succession laws, guarantees that property is distributed in determined fractions to the living family members. This is legally mandated according to the degree of kinship and the number of heirs.

On the other hand, when writing a will, individuals have the freedom to decide what happens to their property. However, it’s essential to note that in Italy a will cannot exclude the minimum share of inheritance (“quota legittima”) due to legitimate heirs by law. For instance, if there is a spouse and a single child, one-third of the inheritance goes to the wife, one-third to the child, and the remaining third is part of the available share (“quota disponibile”) that the testator can allocate to any chosen beneficiary. Even without a spouse and with a single child, half of the inheritance belongs to the child, and the rest falls under the available share. Despite this testamentary freedom, the “quota di legittima” serves as a protective measure, ensuring a delicate balance between autonomy and the preservation of family rights.

International Property Succession
How do Italian inheritance laws affect a foreigner who owns property in Italy? Unlike some countries where the property inheritance laws may defer to the citizenship of the deceased owner, Italy adopts an approach that subjects all property inheritances within its borders to the provisions of Italian law. This means that regardless of the individual’s nationality, the rules and regulations established by the Italian legal system will govern the transfer of property ownership and assets.

What to do after inheriting the property
If you instead inherit an Italian property, or discover that a property in Italy was left to members of your family, you will want to first inform yourself of inheritance taxes (below), the condition of the property, and any debts associated with it.

After reviewing the associated costs, if you choose to accept or claim the property, it is essential to register it in your name through a statement of succession (“dichiarazione di successione”) within 12 months of the original owner’s death. In the event that you inherit a home and decide to claim it after this timeframe has elapsed, you will incur fees established by the Italian Tax Revenue Agency (“Agenzia delle Entrate”). Subsequently, in both scenarios, you are required to submit this document, along with the ones listed below, to the Tax Revenue Agency:

– Original death certificate of the deceased

– “Certificato di famiglia” for both the deceased and all of the heirs

– Documents relating to the home: Visura Catastale, Deed to home

– A certified copy of the will if it is present

– Your own Italian Tax Code (“Codice Fiscale”)

Italian real estate lawyers can help you in this process, from the collection of the documents to determining exactly what the inheritance quotes would be on a family property. This entire process would be followed alongside an Italian Public Notary, the only Italian official recognized to work with inheritances in Italy.

Inheritance taxes
In the realm of inheriting property in Italy, one must also navigate the intricacies of associated taxes. These taxes are calculated based on the cadastral value, known as “valore catastale,” of the property in question. The inheritance tax, or “Imposta di successione,” is a crucial consideration in this process.

For properties inherited by a spouse, children, parents, or grandchildren, the inheritance tax stands at 4% of the inheritance value, but only for the portion exceeding 1,000,000 euros. In the case of inheritance by siblings, the tax rate increases to 6%, applied solely to the inheritance value surpassing 100,000 euros. Meanwhile, for other relatives up to the 4th degree, the inheritance tax amounts to 6% of the inheritance value. Properties inherited by individuals without the aforementioned familial ties incur a higher rate, set at 8% of the inheritance.

Additionally, the succession process entails the payment of transcription and cadastral taxes. The transcription tax (“imposta ipotecaria”) is due for transcription formalities at the offices of the Revenue Agency, calculated at 2% of the value of property shares (based on cadastral value). Simultaneously, the cadastral tax is levied at 1% of the value of property shares (calculated according to the cadastral value). It is worth noting that there are also taxes associated with the property once you acquire it, which we have already written about in previous articles here and here.

If you want to sell the property
Perhaps instead you would like to accept an inherited property to then sell it. In this case, there are a number of other steps you must take in order to effectively place it on the market.

You will first need a real estate agent or surveyor (“geometra”) to determine the value. If you do not reside in Italy, there are also a number of documents you will need to provide, such as a copy of your passport, and certified translations of anything not issued in Italian. Another crucial step is to acquire an Energy Performance certificate from an architect or energy engineer. This will need to be provided for the final closing.

It would also be useful to involve a lawyer in the process, which is where Italian Real Estate Lawyers can help. We have written on this process and are well-equipped to assist to ensure a safe and smooth process. We can also act as power of attorney if you cannot physically be present in Italy.

Inheriting a property in Italy comes with many fine details you must be aware of. Whether you are inheriting a property in Italy, or have recently purchased a home and are curious how it will one day be regulated, there are a number of factors to consider. At Italian Real Estate Lawyers, we’re here to assist with every step of the process. You can contact us at info@italianrealestatelawyers.com.

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