ITALIAN ASSETS - US TRUSTS
Estates in Italy are governed by Italian succession law and typically pass to the immediate family, i.e., surviving spouse and children. But what are the considerations outside this simple familial context?
When considering placing Italian assets in a US trust other considerations may come to the forefront. Foreign trusts are recognized in Italy but in order to transfer real property to a trust one must use the instruments provided by Italian real estate law and comply with Italian tax law. This of course would pose additional costs which become unwarranted if the sole purpose of including Italian assets in a trust is to avoid probate since it is not a common procedure in Italy.
A will written in the US is also recognized in Italy. Interestingly the same will written in Italy might be challenged if its disposition veers outside the parameters guaranteeing the immediate family a specific share valuation. The exception titis the case of a testator without immediate family who may dispose freely to anyone.
Italian assets are distributed to heir with an administrative procedure filed by a professional, not through the courts.
Here are a few notes when addressing administrative issues for succession filings:
- At present there are no inheritance taxes to the immediate family for estates under €1 million per share for each heir.
- Transfer taxes on real estate are paid to the Italian Tax Authority in advance of a filing. Taxes are based on cadastral values as established by the Italian Land Registry.
- Estates less than €26,000 and consisting only of financial instruments do not require the filing of succession documents.
- Unless the estate is large, professionals filing for their clients do not work on a contingency basis.
- If there is a will there are fees for recording it and executing the transfer of title. italianlaw.net 866-694-5500
PROPERTY TAX DEADLINE FOR OVERSEAS OWNERS
JUNE 16, 2019
Property tax deadline: pay by June 16, 2019, to avoid penalties. Payment includes succession heirs. Contact Anthony Alioto
ITALIAN LAW FIRM
Italian law firms as well as other professionals in Italy can assist you to file estate documents to transfer title to property following the death of property title holder. The filing should take place within one year from the date of death however many end up filing late, even after many years. For those living outside of Italy, our office in San Francisco can produce and file all the necessary documents to transfer title property and other liquid assets without resorting to third parties. Anthony Alioto www.italianlaw.net 866-694-5500
SELL ITALIAN FAMILY PROPERTY
Does your family own property in Italy Have you not yet claimed it We can help you sell it. Anthony Alioto San Francisco 001- 866-694-5500 Skype: anthony.alioto
FIND UNCLAIMED PROPERTY IN ITALY HERE
When emigrants left Italy for the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina, etc their properties were left behind in many cases. It is unfounded common belief that the property was confiscated by the Italian government. The reality is that the property is still there and that in many cases the children of emigrants living outside of Italy may still claim it. Call us or email us for more information at 866-694-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org Skype: anthony.alioto
UPON DEATH CHILDREN OF PROPERTY OWNERS MUST FILE
Italian Estate Management Families of a decedent must file succession documents within one year from the date of death of any individual (living anywhere in the world) holding title to Italian real property. This includes within the assets ownership of liquid assets and financial instruments (Italian stock, bonds, etc).
Anthony Alioto USA (00) 1 866-694-5500 Skype: anthony.alioto
FOR SALE - NONNO'S ABANDONED ITALIAN PROPERTY
This morning on the internet and in the Italian press reports surfaced that the mayor of small Italian town, Vincenzo Tamburi, has taken some innovative action to repopulate a small ghost town, San Basile (Province of Potenza), by putting up for sale 150 abandoned homes some for as little as €5,000 ($6,000) each. Past decades of immigration from this and many other towns throughout Italy have not only created ghost towns but also voids of unassigned properties that should have passed to their rightful families living outside of Italy, a big problem for Italy since there is no trace of the children and thus no real estate revenue is derived. Thus thousands of parcels of abandoned land and many structures that should have transferred to successive generations have not, and the original owners, deceased many decades ago, are still found on title today. Their issues now live predominantly in the US, Canada, Australia and Argentina are living in total darkness of their right to inherit according to Italian succession law. With only a few computer key strokes lists of family names and their specific abandoned property locations are available for review and consideration. More importantly how can the Italian American Community be awoken to the realization that their property rights are being stolen by squatters and frequently by distant cousins with whom there is no longer any communications. To find abandoned property surprisingly only the following data is needed: 1. Italian name (if female, maiden) of presumed owner, even if deceased2. Exact town of birth in Italy (mandatory)3. Father of this person (optional, but very useful)4. Birth year of the above. (NO BIRTH YEARS BEFORE 1880) To see a partial list of abandoned properties go to http://www.landfinder.it/emigrantproperties.asp For more information, simply answer the above four questions and email to Anthony Alioto with your contact information. Anthony Alioto, ITALIAN LEGAL LANGAUGE SERVICES, San Francisco, CA
IL TESTAMENTO ITALIANO
Udite, udite…cari connazionali!Questo è il primo in italiano di una nuova serie di articoli, proseguio della nostra narrazione di storie sull'eredità. Vorrei cominciare parlando di testamenti, dato che spesso sentiamo parlare di testamenti scritti in Italia o negli Stati Uniti, ma di cui gli eredi o i supposti eredi non sanno se potranno farne uso.Una delle storie più interessanti che ci è stata sottoposta è quella riguardante il caso di un americano residente in Italia, con oliveti in Puglia e una casa in California, che per non doversi sottoporre alla curisosità indiscreta dei conviventi, viene negli Stati Uniti a scrivere testamento. Con le sue ultime volontà, questo Signore, che per comodità chiameremo William Smith, esclude uno dei figli, la pecora nera della famiglia. Alla morte di Mr. Smith, i due figli inclusi nel testamento cercano di farlo valere…ma ecco che il terzo escluso si fa avanti e lo contesta. Può farlo Sappiamo che la legge americana in genere consente di escludere uno o più legittimari dal proprio testamento, cosa che invece la legge italiana non consente. Il Signor Smith però poteva ben servirsi delle regole previste da uno stato americano per scrivere testamento, data la sua cittadinanza. Il problema è che il figlio escluso dal testamento risiede permanentemente in Italia e la legge italiana prevede che se è legittimo per il cittadino straniero scrivere testamento secondo la sua legge nazionale, quando uno dei suoi più stretti parenti (figli, coniuge o genitori) risiede in Italia, la legge italiana sulle successioni deve essere rispettata. Per cui, il figlio escluso potrà pretendere la sua quota sugli uliveti.In conclusione, il testamento, così come è stato scritto (in inglese, davanti ad un avvocato americano, e con tanto di autentica della firma) è accettato in Italia, ma il suo contenuto può essere contestato dal figlio escluso (non però per i beni che si trovano in America).La stessa cosa vale quando c'è di mezzo un Trust. Il Trust è riconosciuto in Italia, sebbene non è regolato dalla legge italiana ma dalla legge dello stato in cui è stato formato. Abbiamo visto anche qualche traduttore, non molto aggiornato, tradurre trust con il termine fedecommesso. Il termine Trust è corrente in Italia, non abbisogna di traduzioni ed è valido nei limiti di cui sopra.Altro caso, simile a quello narrato per certi aspetti, ma diverso per alcuni elementi, è quello del Signor Mario, italo-americano di cittadinanza, residente a New York, proprietario di un appartamento a Brooklyn e di alcuni castagneti sulle colline di Bologna. Tutta la famiglia di Mario vive negli Stati Uniti, ma Mario esclude la moglie, matrigna dei suoi figli, dal testamento. Alla morte di Mario, si apre in Italia la successione per i castagneti e i figli nominati nel testamento ne chiedono la pubblicazione. La matrigna si fa avanti per ottenere la quota che la legge italiana riserva al coniuge. Lo può fare Sì, perché in caso di doppia cittadinanza in capo a chi scrive testamento vale la legge italiana, anche per le successioni. Se avete qualche domanda sulle procedure relative alle dichiarazioni di successioni potete contattarci a San Francisco al 866-694-5500 oppure in internet www.italianlaw.net
I NIPOTI DISONESTI (the dishonest nephews)
Dopo aver cercato di focalizzare l'attenzione dei miei lettori sui problemi relativi all'eredità in comunione, vorrei ora, con le due storie che seguono, introdurre un nuovo soggetto: i trucchi e i trabocchetti della dichiarazione di successione. Passo subito a spiegare il senso di queste parole narrandovi le vicende di cui sono stati protagonisti e vittime due dei nostri clienti: Paul di Boston e Louis di Chicago. Entrambi hanno una zia che muore senza testamento ma lasciando una cospicua eredità in Italia. Nel caso di Paul, oltre a lui ci sono dei cugini che vivono in Italia ad avere diritto ad ereditare, in quanto legati alla zia dallo stesso grado di parentela. Nel caso di Louis ci sono invece una sorella ed un fratello dello stesso, che in quanto tali hanno dunque, ancora una volta, stessi diritti. In entrambi i casi soltanto uno dei parenti si fa avanti per reclamare l'eredità, ma attenzione, questo non perché vi sia un testamento che li nomina unici eredi, o perché gli altri abbiano rinunciato alla loro quota, bensì perché l'erede intraprendente crede di poter aggirare le leggi o di interpretarle a suo esclusivo vantaggio, molto probabilmente con l'aiuto di qualche avvocato disonesto e sicuramente pensando di approfittare dell'ingenuità o della buona fede dei parenti. Il cugino italiano di Paul, Gianfranco, presenta allora la dichiarazione di successione della zia, deceduta a Boston nel 2000, all'agenzia delle entrate di Roma. A tale dichiarazione Gianfranco allega un atto, la cosiddetta dichiarazione sostitutiva di atto notorio, richiesta per legge, in cui afferma di essere l'unico erede della zia. Tale dichiarazione è però un'arma a doppio taglio, in quanto se da una parte gli consente di ottenere la registrazione del titolo a suo favore, dall'altra costituisce la prova della sua mala fede: dichiarando per iscritto di essere l'unico erede, infatti, Gianfranco dichiara il falso, reato perseguibile penalmente. Ma Gianfranco pensa che a Paul mai e poi mai passerà per la testa di rivolgersi ad un esperto di legge italiana per accertarsi che quanto fatto dal cugino è corretto, ed è pure convinto che i tempi di prescrizione del suo reato e di maturazione di eventuali termini di usucapione si possano compiere prima che venga scoperto l'inganno. Ma il cugino Paul è molto meno ingenuo di quanto lui pensi tanto che, dopo la morte della zia, vuol sapere cosa ne è stato della sua eredità, e viene così a scoprire l'inganno prima che sia troppo tardi per reclamare la sua quota. A Louis di Chicago capita esattamente la stessa cosa, nel suo caso però, il “tradimento di sangue” è ancora più drammatico, dato che non è un cugino, ma una sorella, ad orchestrare il piano di sottrazione dell'eredità. La falsa dichiarazione della stessa, in atto che viene reso pubblico, ossia nella dichiarazione sostitutiva di atto notorio sopra menzionata, le causerà grosse grane giudiziarie e il risarcimento di danni ai fratelli, oltre alla persecuzione penale. La morale delle due vicende è dunque questa: se muoiono zii che non abbiano figli o nipoti diretti, i fratelli o i loro figli hanno diritto ad ereditare, amenoché diversamente disposto da eventuale testamento; ma non solo, poiché le dichiarazioni fatte da un parente gaglioffo non sono destinate a cambiare per sempre il destino di un'eredità quando più persone hanno gli stessi diritti, è giusto e doveroso, da parte di questi, impugnare la dichiarazione mendace per far valere i propri diritti, dal momento che la legge lo prevede e lo promuove. *Per ulteriori informazioni, contattate Sonia Alioto al 866-694-5500 oppure visitate il nostro sito web www.italianlaw.net ...
L'A.I.R.E. - ITALIANS LIVING OUTSIDE OF ITALY & 'NEW ITALIANS' WITH DUAL CITIZENSHIP
The acronym A.I.R.E. stands for Association of Italians Residing Overseas.Founded in1988, it functions as an overseas extension of the Office of Vital Records (l'Ufficio Anagrafe) for the Italian population residing outside of Italy.The collection of data and its constant update through the Italian Consulate offices in their respective jurisdictions throughout the world also includes those who have obtained dual citizenship by the principal of juris sanguinis. Thus it is possible for one to have never lived in Italy and still be rigistered on the list of Italians living overseas. Interestingly, the Vital Records offices for each Municipality (Comune) in Italy keeps the corresponding records of those Italians who have decided to transfer their residency to other countries. Also of historical note to those who prepare their family's genealogy, one may find the A.I.R.E. files in Italy in the various Comuni a source ofvaluable information. How do I get onto the A.I.R.E. list Simply go to your nearest Italian Consulate and ask for the appropriate form “Dati Anagrafici” which is filled out by the Consulate staff. You can see this form by visiting any various web sites of the Italian Consulates and the Embassy in your country. Of interest to those who have obtained dual citizenship, this same form is sent to the Comune that originally verified your ancestors birth place and /or last residence in Italy. For further clarification, Italian Legal Language Services can be reached in San Francisco at 866-694-5500 or through their web site www.italianlaw.net
ITALIAN INHERITANCES - Q & A
For the last several months, I have presented certain basic information on inheriting Italian property. The fundamentals served not only to inform the reader on the “rules” of Italian succession law, but also as a wake up call to those who may still have the right to inherit. Here are a few of the questions we have received . Q. My grandparents came to the US in 1906 and left behind my grandmothers parents and one older, married sister. The parents died and are buried in the village, as is the sister and her husband. The sister had several children, all of whom died in infancy, plus she had an adopted son who emigrated to the US. How would I determine if any property was inherited by my grandmother We know the exact location of the house in which she lived. Mrs. D. A. Hello Ms. D. In order to understand the historical data and subsequent transfer of title to others of any Italian property, the source of information you are looking for is found at the office called, La conservatoria. All provinces of Italy have one. If you have the address then you could also discover the name of the present owners of the property as well. Q. I am the oldest of all the nieces, nephews and grand children. My uncle was born and lives in Italy. He doesn't have any children of his own but is married. So my question is: who is the one to inherit his house Lucia A. Hello Lucia. Your question is simple but has a complicated answer since there are several scenarios that could play out. First of all let's exclude some of those recurring stereotypes such as oldest child, the son, etc. that we keep hearing from the Italian American community. They are not pertinent elements in the distribution of the assets. If your uncle passes on [u]without[/u] a will, 2/3 interest will automatically go to his spouse and 1/3 will be split between parents, brothers and sisters and/or the nephews and nieces of their deceased parents. This latter point in legal terms is called Representation. If he passes on [u]with a will[/u] a surviving spouse ([i]la legittimaria[/i]) will have a right to 50% and the remaining can be distributed freely. If there are surviving parents, they will receive 25%. Q. Please give me information on taking title to property if it has been worked on for over 30 years. When my grandfather left Italy 35 years ago, he left some ( olive and lemon groves ) to his cousin to tend to so that the trees wouldn't die. My grandfather died this year, and when we inquired about this property we were told he took title to it 5 years ago, because he worked the property for 30 years. A. Hello Mr. R Yes, it is possible to lose agricultural property after 30 years if someone pays the taxes for all of those years. Aside from the statue of limitations that may be 30 years in this case, there must be also the element of 'good faith'. In other words, if you are the succession heir and the petitioner trying to acquire it by adverse possession is aware of your existence, the statue of limitations may not apply. Do you know who has paid the taxes all these years For further clarification, Italian Legal Language Services can be reached in San Francisco at 866-694-5500 or through their web site www.italianlaw.net
SCORPIONS & ITALIAN REAL ESTATE
Which word in Italian represents a legal concept understood by all Italians and yet is unknown to Italian Americans The answer will be revealed in the body of this article. Those readers whose parents or grandparents left behind family and land in Italy for a better life elsewhere will be particularly interested in the answer. Our trip to the hill towns in the beautiful and enchanting countryside of the Abruzzo region has been difficult during these warm days of late June yet rewarding since we have succeeded in finding our client's “lost” home and the numerous agricultural parcels abandoned many years earlier. How did you find the property, you ask With only a copy of an old letter referencing specific parcel numbers, we were able in this digital age to obtain from our office in San Francisco more detail on the title (*foglio, particella, ecc.*) and specific maps of the *Abbruzese *area. However, it was still necessary on this assignment to go to Italy to track down a street address in a small town and take pictures of the land in the surrounding area some of which we discovered had been cultivated by a local farmer for many years. At this point in the story we did not know who was working the land. With the gracious collaboration of local civil servants in the Municipality's land registry office, we (my wife and I) set out with maps and camera in hand to transform our title documents and land maps into nostalgic photographs for our client. There was also a practical side to our quest: recovering the family property. In the two days that followed we scoured the country side in question talking to numerous farmers in their vineyards and grasslands in a valley set under the backdrop of the breathtaking mountains in the Abruzzo region. We were confident we were in the right location of the parcels but had to be sure before taking pictures. On the morning of the third day, we heard the sound of another tractor working the vineyards in the target area. Stopping our car we ascended the vineyard slop to ask which parcel he was working. Cooperative but slightly suspicious he gave us the parcel number and added he had acquired it. (This does not mean he purchased it.) We realized then that we had hit pay dirt since the parcels we were looking for were those adjacent his. In that moment we also realized we had met “the Scorpion”, that is, one who “acquires land by adverse possession. We later discovered he had acquired by adverse possession (*usucapione *) over the years a total of 90 parcels in the fertile valley. As a wealthy farmer still working the land for many years not with a plow but from within an air-conditioned tractor, he had little schooling but understood that others had left behind valuable land while looking for better times in the US and Canada. His attorney and others in the town had mentioned this legal term, *usucapione *, which was perceived by him as *U scorpione *. It is only fair to admit that the title to this article is not entirely the creation of my imagination but the result of a comic linguistic twist or misinterpretation. Certainly the word “scorpion” has taken on a new meaning for us. It is not found in any legal dictionary or other authoritative source but for the sake of this article, it may be defined as a savvy Italian who understands that working abandoned land and paying the very low taxes on agricultural property will allow one to automatically acquire title by *usucapione* which sounds a lot like scorpion, also known as “squatters rights. As to the ending of the story, further investigations revealed that some of the property is still uncultivated and remains the property of our client even after decades meaning that it has not been yet lost to “the scorpion” farmer. For our client's remaining property, we must Declaration of Succession with the Land Office thus passing the title from the dead from generations past to the living succession heirs. For further clarification, Italian Legal Language Services can be reached in San Francisco at 866-694-5500 or through their web site www.italianlaw.net ...
ITALIAN SQUATTERS DO HAVE RIGHTS
Since our last article: Claim your Italian inheritance...before it's too late, the stories of financial intrigue and general administrative bungling that reached our attention could serve as fodder for several hit movies. The recurring theme running through most of the emails and telephone calls allows us to conclude that misinformation and false assumptions cause Italian Americans to lose control of “forgotten” property in Italy. The crux of the problem: the rational of Italian law does not always run parallel to American logic. Essentially, we find many making false assumptions in two areas: last wills & testaments and adverse possession (squatters rights). Wills Briefly, the immediate family members of the decedent, cannot be excluded from an inheritance. A spouse and all of the children have guaranteed rights. If either or both have been omitted in a will, it still may not be too late to claim assets or recover the property. Thus, it is incorrect to assume that only those named in the will are the only heirs. In the absence of a will, the estate is divided among the immediate family according to succession law. See inheritance_chart.pdf Adverse Possession (Squatters) In order to introduce the subject of adverse possession in Italy one must first eliminate any pre-conceived ideas that a title report always reflects the present ownership of the property. Along these lines, the question that is usually posed to us is: “In what time frame may one lose the property by adverse possession ” The short answer: There are various time frames: 10, 20 & occasionally 30 years in the case of raw farm land. Ten years applies to those holding a deed which turns out not to be valid. In the eleventh year, the rightful owner may not challange its validity. Adverse possession may take place after twenty years in instances in which the user of the property possesses no deed at all. The user of the property lives in the property hoping to establish the semblance of ownership until the twenty-first year. It is essential to understand that in addition to the various time elements Italian law introduces several other conditions. For adverse possession to take place, the squatter must comply and meet the following acid test: the squatter must continuously and uninterruptedly openly occupy the property, pay taxes over the course of the years, and be in good faith in believing that he or she is really the owner. With regards to the last condition, if you wish to free up the property you may be in a more favorable position if you can prove the user of property was aware of your existence.
USING THE INHERITANCE WILD CARD
What possible association can one make between an Italian will and a deck of cards which includes a wild card known as the Joker With a little imagination, there is only one association. I am not a poker player but I do know that if I am dealt a Joker I am free to use it as I want. So what does the Joker have to do with the writing an Italian will Stated quickly it is that percentage of one's assets in Italy that one may dispose of freely. In Italian legalese it is called, La disponibile For those who read February's article entitled Will & Testament- Italian Style, you may recall that one may not dispose of one's assets in Italy with total freedom of choice when the immediate family survives you. In Italian this is called i legittimari Summarizing last month's article, suppose your last will and testament, written in the U.S., expresses the following: to my oldest son living in New York, I leave the house in Naples and the Alfa Romeo; to my wife, I leave the summer home in Sicily along with its 50 acres of olive groves; and to my daughter, who never visited me except when she wanted money, I leave my butterfly collection. According to Italian law, there are minimum percentages that must go to the immediate family, and unless the daughter, in this example, agrees to accept less, then the minimums must be adhered to. In the above example this means: 25% to the surviving spouse, 25% to the two children. The remaining 25% may be freely willed to whomever one chooses. In a certain sense, La disponibile functions like the joker, allowing the testator writing the will to allot the remaining 25% freely. As an example, one may add an additional 5% to the inheritance of each immediate family members. The remaining 10% may go to a friend and to charity of your choice. You may even just decide to give the remaining 25% for the preservation of Sicilian butterflies. The fundamental two points are: when writing a will remember to always honor the minimum percentages as expressed in Italian law and use the joker card wisely. For an easy to understand diagram of the correct distribution of Italian assets go here For further clarification, Italian Legal Language Services can be reached in San Francisco at 866-694-5500 or through their web site www.italianlaw.net
YOUR INHERITANCE UNDER RAPS
In reflecting on the possible content for this article on Italian inheritance matters I said to myself, perhaps we should call this series “What every Italian in Italy today knows but keeps under raps from those living outside Italy”. A rather long, however, effective title that hopefully will catch your attention. What's the secret, you say Answer: Our grandparents or even parents forgot to tell the kids about the property, at times abandoned, in Italy. You know, nonno, never really talked much about the past.* I hear this refrain frequently. Well readers, in many cases it is still not too late to pick up the pieces It is our objective to allow you to understand your inheritance rights today and, if possible recover “abandoned” family assets of yesterday. Since this series of articles does not even attempt to address the subject formally, we will try to convey certain basic concepts by scratching the surface using a “frequently asked question” format. Q. If the property is still in my grandfather's name, can I claim it A. One must file a declaration of succession to start the process of transfer of title. If your father is still alive, he and his siblings would inherit it. If some of his siblings have passed on, your father and your cousins would inherit it. This is called in Italian legalize La Rappresentazione*. Q. My father who was born in the US inherited his father's property in Italy. My father left no will. Do I still have a right to my share of this property along with my siblings A. Absolutely. The absence of a will has no bearing on your right to inherit However, more information is needed. Q. How do find out who owns the family property in Italy today A. Simple, perform a title search to discover who are the present owner(s). In the process you will obtain the size of the property, the zoning and use of the land today (pasture, olive groves, fruit orchards, farm land, house(s) on the property) and other interesting details. Q. Will the title search tell me the history of the property A. Not exactly, but it will provide the names and birth dates of other owners on title as of the date the title search was performed. These could be your long lost relatives or complete strangers who have taken over the land or are in the process of taking title by adverse possession. Q. In today's inheritance scheme, what is the relevance of the first male child A. Absolutely none. The Civil Code, written in 1942 and still in force, put the sexes on an equal footing. The first male child references hark back to the days of monarchy and Statuto Albertino* (King Albert's laws) If you have specific inheritance questions, please call Italian Legal Language Services at 866-694-5500 or visit us at www.italianlaw.net
RICUPERANDO IL TERRENO DEL NONNO (Claiming Grandfather's Land)
“Quando mio nonno lasciò la Sicilia, i genitori ed i fratelli rimasti continuarono a gestire l'azienda agricola e mio nonno dall'America continuava a mandar loro del denaro affinché potessero portare avanti l'attività...chè a quel tempo era difficile sopravvivere con il solo lavoro dei campi...Non ho mai saputo poi che fine abbiano fatto il fondo e la casa, so soltanto che i miei bisnonni in seguito morirono e che i fratelli di mio nonno continuarono a gestire l'azienda...” Quante storie come questa si sentono ancor oggi. In effetti, coloro che emigrarono in America 70-80 anni fa e anche più di recente, molte volte si lasciavano alle spalle genitori e fratelli, ed un podere od una casa, che poi non veniva venduto proprio grazie al contributo economico che giungeva da oltreoceano. D'altra parte, chi riusciva a far fortuna in America e decideva di rimanere finiva spesso col disinteressarsi di questi antichi beni di famiglia, pur avendone ancora il titolo. Così, a distanza di anni, figli e nipoti, che tante volte da bambini avevano sentito parlare del “podere” in Italia, prendono interesse a scoprire che fine abbia fatto, finendo con il trovarsi eredi senza saperlo. Anche nel sistema giuridico italiano, come in tanti altri sistemi giuridici, i beni che non vengono lasciati in eredità per testamento, seguono la destinazione prevista dall'istituto della successione legittima. Se però l'eredità testamentaria viene devoluta senza rispetto della quota per i legittimari, il testamento è invalido, cioè nullo, poiché in ogni caso vanno rispettate le norme giuridiche che prevedono il diritto ad una quota d'eredità in capo ai parenti “più stretti”. Cosa significa tutto questo Che nessuno ci può delegittimare di quanto ci spetta, eccetto un fattore...il tempo. Secondo l'ordinamento giuridico italiano infatti, chi non esercita un proprio diritto per un certo periodo di tempo, lo perde. Così, nel caso dell'eredità lasciata dal nonno o dal bisnonno, pur potendo sempre reclamare il proprio diritto nella successione legittima o testamentaria, quando ne occorre il caso, l'appropriazione della quota ereditaria da parte di un altro parente, perpetrata in buona fede per numerosi anni, ci può far perdere il diritto all'eredità. Se si ha anche un solo dubbio sulla possibilità di avere ereditato in Italia, per testamento o per successione legittima, da un parente anche lontano, è bene farsi avanti e farlo al più presto! A titolo esemplificativo viene riportato di seguito lo schema della successione legittima. *Per ulteriori informazioni, contattate Sonia Alioto al 866-694-5500 oppure visitate il nostro sito web www.italianlaw.net WRITTEN BY SONIA ALIOTO – NOT TO BE PUBLISHED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN, EXPRESSED PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR April 2, 2002
THE ITALIAN INHERITANCE - RECOVERING NONNO'S LOST FARM
“When my grandfather was a young man he, like many others, went to America leaving behind his beloved Italia, his parents, brothers and sisters who continued to manage the farm in those difficult times surviving only after long hours of sweat and toil and the few dollars set aside regularly in America and then sent back to Italy. I never really knew what happened to the land and that house. Later on I found that after my great grandparents passed on that my grandfather's brothers and sisters continued to work the farm.” How many of us, still today, have heard this and similar stories. Actually those who emigrated seventy to eighty years ago and even more recently, often left behind family, land and even houses that were never abandoned thanks to the economic support from immigrant family members living overseas. Frequently, those who found their “gold” in America and decided not to return to Italy, subsequently lost interest in the family property for which they and relatives still had a legal claim. (According to the Italian Civil Code under certain circumstances this meant that up to the sixth degree of kinship still held some rights.) If a will does not exist, Italian law imposes what might be called “forced heirship”, whereby certain relatives are entitled to a fixed proportion of a person's estate on death. Even if a will does exist, it must consider preset minimum quotas for certain member of the family otherwise the will would be considered null and void. For example, a spouse, married or separated, will be entitled from 33% to 50% depending on the situation. (For further clarification, see the diagrams to the right. Note that the difference between upper and lower diagrams is that the top diagram considers “a surviving spouse” whereas the lower diagram supposes that the deceased party has no surviving spouse). What does this all mean Legitimate heirs may continue to step forward and only time can nullify one's rights. According to Italian law, there are temporal limits which may be lost if not exercised within a certain time frame. Thus, in the case of legitimate succession, if the relatives in the U.S. do not claim rights to their share, they may be lost forever to those who actually take possession of the property. If, in a moment of reflection on the family's genealogy, you feel that a missing link from an inheritance point of view exists, it would be wise to look into the matter before the legal clock runs out. Anthony Alioto Italian Legal Language Services www.italianlaw.net 866-694-5500