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Reserved Acceptance – Italian Inheritance

reserved acceptanceReserved Acceptance – Brief Case Study

For a better comprehension of reserved acceptance, we have provided a brief case study concerning this topic.

Silvia and Eric Jones owned a beautiful property in Liguria. They were resident in Italy, loved life here and were well-integrated in to their local community. Sadly, recently, in close succession, Silvia and Eric died.

The Jones’ sons, Larry and Tom, have been in touch with De Tullio Law Firm about their parents’ Italian Wills. They have some concerns regarding what happens when heirs are unsure exactly what they are inheriting. Larry and Tom are very concerned that their parents’ estate may be encumbered with debt.

In Italy, however, heirs have the possibility to accept an inheritance resorting to what is known as a reserved acceptance – “beneficio d’inventario” in Italian. This means that Larry and Tom can avoid confusion between their estate and their parents’ and will only be liable to pay their parents’ debts on the sum they inherit.

What is reserved acceptance?

If you are an heir, but you are unsure in the deceased’s inheritance whether there is more debt than credit, by resorting to the so-called, “beneficio d’inventario” (reserved acceptance) you may avoid any confusion between your estate and the decedent’s. Thus you will not be liable to pay off the decedent’s debts with your own money.

If, for example, you inherit a share of an inheritance equal to Euro 10,000, against a debt equal to Euro 20,000, you will only be liable to pay the sum inherited, namely Euro 10,000.

Reserved acceptance is however not a good idea if the heir has certainty that liabilities outweigh inherited assets (unless the heir wishes to pay debts in order to honour the decedent’s memory). Where certainty of debt exists, renouncing the inheritance is a more appropriate solution.

It is worth mentioning that certain people are required to accept an inheritance through what is known as, “beneficio d’inventario”. These people include minors under the age of eighteen, people in care and legal entities, including the State, associations and foundations.

How Does Reserved Acceptance Work?

Reserved acceptance has to be carried out through a declaration made to a Notary Public; alternatively, the declaration can be made to a clerk of the court of the district in which the decedent was last domiciled.

If you find yourself in a similar situation to the one described, do not hesitate to contact us at We will be happy to provide you with more detailed information.

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