Inheritance in Italy – Understanding Reserved Acceptance

In this article, we will explore the concept of reserved acceptance through a brief case study, shedding light on its importance in inheritance matters in Italy.

Case Study: Silvia and Eric Jones

Silvia and Eric Jones, residents of Italy and proud owners of a beautiful property in Liguria, unfortunately passed away in close succession. Their sons, Larry and Tom, sought assistance from De Tullio Law Firm regarding their parents’ Italian Wills. They expressed concerns about the inheritance process and the potential burden of debt on their parents’ estate.

Understanding Reserved Acceptance

In Italy, heirs have the option of resorting to reserved acceptance, known as “beneficio d’inventario” in Italian. This mechanism allows heirs to avoid confusion between their own estate and the estate of the deceased. By accepting the inheritance with reservation, Larry and Tom would only be responsible for paying off their parents’ debts using the assets they inherit, ensuring they are not personally liable for the entire debt.

When to Consider Reserved Acceptance

Reserved acceptance is particularly beneficial when heirs are uncertain about the balance between debts and assets in the inherited estate. For example, if an heir receives an inheritance worth €10,000 but the debt amounts to €20,000, they would only be liable for the sum they inherit, in this case, €10,000.

However, it’s important to note that reserved acceptance may not be the best choice if the heir is certain that the inherited debts outweigh the assets. In such cases, renouncing the inheritance is a more appropriate solution.

Mandatory Reserved Acceptance

Certain individuals are required by law to accept an inheritance through reserved acceptance. This includes minors under the age of eighteen, individuals under legal guardianship, and legal entities such as the State, associations, and foundations.

Process of Reserved Acceptance

Reserved acceptance must be formalized through a declaration made either before a Notary Public or a clerk of the court in the district where the deceased was last domiciled.


Understanding reserved acceptance is crucial when navigating inheritance matters in Italy. If you have any questions, experiences, or thoughts to share about this topic, I invite you to leave a comment below. If you are in need of legal assistance regarding Italian inheritance matters please contact me directly.

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