Question. I am a British citizen and I own an Italian property. Do I need an Italian will to handle the Italian portion of my inheritance?
Answer: As a general rule, under international Italian law, the inheritance of Italian properties is regulated by the national inheritance law of the deceased party. However, in common law countries such as the UK, the home country international law would typically defer to the domestic Italian inheritance law as the inheritance law regulating the inheritance and the distribution of the Italian property. Under typical circumstances, it is sufficient to expressly state in the non Italian will that the principal would like the home country inheritance legislation to govern the inheritance. Under such express choice, the inheritance of an Italian property owned by a UK national, under typical circumstances, would be regulated by the applicable UK law. Italian officers will then execute the non Italian will. Consequently, it is not necessary to write an Italian will pertaining to the Italian property as its transition during an Italian inheritance proceeding can be regulated by a non Italian will. It could however be opportune to expressly mention the Italian property in the home country will.
An Italian Will, as opposed to a UK Will, would typically imply higher costs to prepare the Will and higher cost related to the Italian inheritance claim process, due to the formalities required in relation to the autentication, publication and registration of Italian Wills.
The Italian lawyers of Studio Legale Metta have successfully performed numerous inheritance transfers regarding non Italian testators, involving properties located throughout Italy. Some inheritance procedures were regulated by non Italian Wills, some of them by Italian Wills and some according to the intestate applicable rules (in Italian "successione legittima"), which apply when the deceased did not leave any Will. The processes regulated by non Italian Wills have typically been substantially cheaper than the ones regulated by Italian Wills.
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