In Italy, testate succession is governed by the will, subject to its content complying with articles 587 to 712 of the Italian civil code (Codice Civile).

Italian law contemplates four types of wills:

  • The Holographic Will
  • The Public Will
  • The Secret Will
  • The Special Will

The inheritance estate is composed of the difference, at the moment the person (also known as “de cuius”) passes away, between the value of the inheritance assets (goods and rights) and the value of the deductible inheritance liabilities. 

The inheritance estate is composed of two kinds of shares:

  • Available shares, which the testator can distribute without legal restrictions;
  • Minimum shares, which are those parts of the estate reserved by law to determine all individuals (spouse, children and/or close relatives) considered to be “legittimari”.

A testamentary disposition that conflicts with the minimum shares rules is subject to be challenged by each of the “legittimari” by means of a specific legal action called “azione di riduzione.

When an individual passes away without a will, intestate succession applies. 


Are you interested in drafting a will to govern your Italian assets? Please, click here for more information or contact us for a free consultation.


Are you faced with a testate succession? Do you need an expert to look for an alleged will left by your grandparent and/or to check whether and how it applies?

In the event a deceased person has left behind an Italian or foreign will, we can assist his/her heir/s in reference to the following:

  • Conduct a search of public wills and get a copy of it
  • Verify the validity of such a will so that Italian law can apply
  • Assets research
  • Property title and public records searches
  • Manage the entire Italian probate process
  • Legal advice regarding the rights of each heir as per Italian law
  • Legal advice in reference to assets distribution among heirs according to Italian law
  • Assistance to have inheritance funds transferred from the custodian bank
  • Calculate and pay property transfer taxes and estate taxes if due
  • Public records update in the names of heirs
  • International validation of the Italian will to be used abroad and of the foreign will to be used in Italy
  • Advice in reference to the evaluation of the inherited property
  • Legal assistance throughout the entire process regarding the sale of the property
  • Challenge a will in court if it is deemed to be against the law


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