Italian succession without will

Italian succession without will



Question: What if a non-Italian person owning an Italian property who has money in an Italian bank account dies without leaving a will?

Answer: When someone dies without a will the Italian inheritance (succession) is regulated according to the law of deceased’s country of residence.

Therefore, the residence of the testator is an essential element in the Italian succession. In common law countries, such as the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada and Australia, the inheritance law applicable to real estate assets is the law where the real estate is geographically located.

As a result, for people who are residents of such countries, if there is no will, of if there is a foreign will that does not expressly and properly address the choice of foreign law, the domestic Italian inheritance law will regulate the succession and determine the inheritance rules applicable to the Italian property.

However, the result would be very different for people who are residents of other countries. For example, in the event of a French resident who dies without a valid will leaving real estate assets in Italy, the inheritance of such assets would be subject to the French law.

As an alternative option, if such French resident has a foreign citizenship, for example Canadian, it would be possible to elect, in a will, that the succession shall be subject to the Canadian inheritance law.

When there is a succession without a will, it is called Intestate Succession.

Although each case is unique, refer to our diagram at the link below showing how the Italian Intestacy Law works:

DOWNLOAD: Italian Law Intestacy Chart

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