FAQ

General Questions
Inheriting Existing Assets
Italian Taxes
Wills / Trusts
Claiming Assets in Italy
Unclaimed Assets in Italy
Unclaimed Assets – Search Criteria – Real Estate
Buying and Selling Italian Property
Italian Citizenship

==================================================================================================

General Questions

Who are your clients typically?
Our clients typically fall into the following groups: descendants of Italian families living outside of Italy, non-Italian attorneys looking for direction on estate administration in Italy and bank trust departments. Following our research and due diligence, our clients obtain clarity and guidance on the filing procedures in Italy to transfer assets to those families living outside of Italy.

We also give guidance on obtaining Italian citizenship.

Inheriting Existing Assets

Can you help me transfer the title to family assets in Italy without going to Italy?
Yes. Our office can file documents in Italy to transfer title of property to the children of immigrants living anywhere in the world.

Italian Taxes

Real estate Taxes

If I take title (ownership) to my family’s property, do I have to pay back taxes?The incorrect assumption is that there are always back taxes to pay. On agricultural property there may be no taxes at all. In any case, according to Italian law taxes can be collected only for the last five years.

Inheritance Taxes

If I inherit assets in Italy do I have to pay inheritance taxes?
If you are a direct descendent or surviving spouse there are no inheritance taxes to pay up to €1,000,000 with the current law. However, there are fees to pay on the real estate transfer of title. If one is not a direct descendent, the inheritance tax varies depending on one’s relationship to the deceased party.  Contact us for further information.

Wills / Trusts

How do I find a will?
This question begs several other questions such as: In which country was it written? Was the will recorded?

Is there a repository for wills?
Yes, there is more than one source.

What if there is no will?
This is frequently the case. In the absence of a will Italian law provides for the distribution of assets to the relatives of descendants living anywhere in the world. These individuals are termed “legitimate heirs”. See the Italian Civil Code for details or contact a qualified professional.

See Inheritance Chart If the children are deceased then the distribution of assets will go to the next generation(s) by the principal of Representation. This aspect is not included in the above referenced chart.

Are trusts written outside of Italy valid and recognized in Italy?
Yes.

Claiming Assets in Italy

Do I have to be an Italian citizen to claim Italian property or other assets?
No.

Can I claim my ancestors’ property in Italy even if they passed on many decades ago?
Yes. In order to claim property in Italy you must prove you are an heir. You are an heir either because there is a will naming you or in its absence you are related to the deceased and your relationship according Italian law qualifies you as an heir. Surviving spouses may also qualify. See the Italian Civil Code for details or contact a qualified professional.

What assets can I claim?
One can file to transfer real estate anywhere in Italy still in the name of a deceased party. There are many such properties in all regions of Italy that are abandoned. Unclaimed estate assets may also include bank accounts, stocks and bonds and other personal property. In more recent estate filings, beneficiaries of life insurance policies would receive distributions.

Do Italian estate matters go through probate?
In the Italian system the settling of estates does not involve the court system and thus no probate procedures exist. However, if a distribution of assets is contested the Italian court system may be involved. Italian estates filings are administrative in nature and as such are filed with the Italian Tax Authority. Contact us for further information.

Unclaimed Assets in Italy

How do I find unclaimed assets?
Real estate:  Ask our office to run a title report listing all properties in the name of your ancestor.

Bank Accounts / Stocks & Bonds:  Our office can assist in uncovering unclaimed money and financial instruments.

Unclaimed Assets – Search Criteria – Real Estate

What information do I need to located family property in Italy?
The criterion that produces the most complete and fastest results is a title search by name in the following format:

  • Italian name (if female, maiden) even if deceased many decades ago
  • Birth date or year (No birth years before 1870)
  • Italian town of birth or other nation
  • Father of this person (useful if the exact town of birth is not known)

Can one search by Italian address?
Yes, but addresses may change over time. This approach may be more time consuming.

Can one search by map and parcel number in a specific town?
Yes, but the results will bring forth data on one specific building or one specific parcel of land and Not the entire estate.

Can you provide official maps indicating property boundaries?
Yes

Can one track the history of specific property, called the chain of title?
Yes, but one needs a map # and parcel #. Perform a title search by name first to obtain the needed data.

Can one uncover who the buyers and sellers were, sales price, and more?
Yes, but this service is offered in our full-service mode only. Use Contact Us adding some detail.

What is some practical advice?
Even though it is common to find property records of those still on title born in the 1880s, earlier birth dates may have not yet been digitized. Obtaining property records in prior periods may require a manual search in the town records. It may be wiser to start with names in the 1900s and then work backwards. 

There are 1000s of unclaimed properties abandoned by immigrants to other countries. According to Italian succession law descendents may still file to make a claim. See a partial short list here. We add family names to the list regularly.

Buying and Selling Italian Assets

Can you assist me with buying and selling real property and other assets in Italy?
Yes. Our office can assist in the negotiations between buyer and seller and set forth the terms of the agreement in Italian and English.

Italian Citizenship

Can you assist me in applying for Italian citizenship?
Yes.

Can you assist me in retrieving from Italy essential vital record certificates?
Yes.

Will you translate vital records documents in English into Italian for the presentation to Italian authorities?
Yes.