Testamentary Succession in Italy

Italian Inheritance Law and its Traditions

Italian inheritance law, rooted in the Roman Law tradition, emphasizes safeguarding the interests of the deceased’s close family members, but this protection entails restrictions on the testator’s freedom to entirely dispose of their assets as desired in testamentary succession.

Understanding Testamentary Succession in Italy

Testamentary succession involves the distribution of a deceased testator’s hereditary assets, commonly known as the estate, in accordance with the provisions outlined in an Italian Will. After the testator’s passing, this legally binding document determines the allocation of the estate.

Handling Foreign Wills in Italy

In the case of foreign Wills, Italian law necessitates authentication by an Italian Public Notary before probate proceedings can commence. Dealing with documents drafted in a foreign language and governed by a foreign jurisdiction can present challenges. Notaries require proper translation into Italian for publishing or legalizing foreign language documents, often involving the services of a sworn translator, which may incur additional costs compared to drafting an Italian Will.

Benefits of Drafting a Will in Italian

Opting to draft a Will in Italian can significantly reduce the likelihood of conflicts among heirs after the testator’s death. Additionally, an Italian Will ensures clarity for the Italian authorities, facilitating a smoother probate process.

Registration and Publication of the Italian Will

After the death of the testator, their Italian Will is promptly registered and published by the competent Italian authorities. This important step not only ensures transparency and legal compliance but also provides a clear and accessible record of the testator’s wishes, guiding the testamentary succession process for the beneficiaries and other stakeholders involved. Registering the Will with the authorities is an integral part of the estate administration, as it helps prevent disputes or misunderstandings among heirs, and allows for a smooth and orderly distribution of the deceased’s hereditary assets according to the testator’s expressed desires.

Understanding Forced Heirs in Italian Legal Succession

Italian legal succession prioritizes the protection of family members, and certain heirs, known as forced heirs, are entitled to a share of the estate. A portion of the deceased’s assets, termed the reserved quota, must be allocated to these forced heirs.

Forced heirs in Italy include:

a) Legitimate, natural, and adopted children
b) Married partner
c) Legitimate ascendants (only in the absence of children)

Considerations for Non-Italian Citizens

Non-Italian citizens may be subject to different legal provisions, and the EU Regulation known as Brussels IV can also impact the distribution of assets in a Will. Seeking guidance from a lawyer specialised in cross-border inheritance and testamentary succession is essential for handling these regulations effectively.


In conclusion, it is of utmost importance to seek expert support when dealing with such intricate matters. Drafting an Italian Will and understanding the complexities of testamentary succession require careful consideration and guidance. If you have any questions or need tailored assistance, please feel free to comment below or get in touch.

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