Are you inheriting Italian Property? There are legal procedures that can make this process tricky, but you can reduce the stress of selling a property you have inherited with the right advice and guidance.
Inheriting Italian Property: 1) Cost – effectiveness
Is the property worth the effort? Before recording the property transfer into your name, you need to check: inheritance taxes, title deed, actual conditions, market value, debts. The inheritance taxes depend on cadastral value (typically lower than the market value).
2) Registering the property in your name: statement of succession
3) Putting your Italian inherited property on the market
Selling an inherited property may be very hard to menage, especially as it happens in Italy. You can put the house on the market before you have probate, but obviously a sale won’t be able to go through until it is finalised. You need to know the Italian legal requirements, involved subjects and costs. How do you estimate a market price for your property? In Italy there is a national database (OMI), similar to the MLS in the US. It is important that a local real estate agent or a surveyor (“geometra”) estimates your property value.
4) Involving a lawyer in your inherited property sale
Most people think that inheriting italian property is an easy process. The involvement of a lawyer in your Italian property sale is not required by Italian law. But it is advisable to involve an independent lawyer with large experience. The lawyer looks after your exclusive interest, limits your exposure and liability, increases protection and guarantees, negotiates lower costs, receives and makes payments on your behalf. In general, the laweyer pursues a safer and more effective transaction. With a power of Attorney (“procura”) you give power to another subject (i.e. your lawyer) to appoint an intermediary, accept offers and take all steps without the need to be physically present in Italy. You can formalize it in your own Country. Real Estate Agent – “agenzia immobiliare”: in Italy a realtor represents both the buyer and the vendor. Standard commission due by each party is 3% + VAT (currently 22%).
5) The actual sale
- Purchase offer – Preliminary Contract (“preliminare”). When you sign a document regarding property sale you are under contract, bound to complete the sale. Whatever the parties have not expressly agreed on, is governed by default rules set by Italian law. Once the vendor signs there is little room to avoid default duties and obligations. Here are generally no restrictions imposed on foreigners inheriting italian property.
- Notary. The law requires a notary to certify property sales. Italian notaries are law professionals who act as public officers in property transactions. They carry out several formal checks, such as on title, parties identities, capacity, entitlement and powers.
- Record. There are two property registers, the “Catasto” and the “Agenzia del Territorio“ (Land Registry). Your property records need to be in order. Record inconsistencies, due to previous omissions or recording errors, need to be corrected.
- Property Possession. The vendor gives the property keys to the buyer on completion. It is preferable to avoid early or late possession.
- Furniture. Common practice in Italian property sale is to sell a property without furniture, kitchen, appliances or white goods. Buyers might pay an extra for content in usable conditions.
- Sale Taxes and Costs. Italian property sale is subject to several taxes and costs, such as (i) transfer taxes, on the buyer unless otherwise agreed. (ii) notary fees, on the buyer unless otherwise agreed. (iii) perhaps capital gain tax in your own country and/or the country where you live (check this with your local accountant).
- Means of Payment. Payments are typically done through banker’s draft, cashier check, certified check, “assegno circolare”. You are not required to have an Italian bank account. You can use escrow account service through a real estate agent, a notary or a lawyer you trust for them to manage money transactions on your behalf.
6) The required legal papers for a sale
- Cadastrial Compliance (“conformità catastale”). Since 2010 the seller have to assure that the property plan (“planimetria catastale“) in the public register (Catasto) is consistent with the actual status (position, shape and use of internal rooms). Many Italian homes layouts do not meet compliance requirements, even if the owner never did any building work. This is mainly due to the lak of attention to this aspect (before 2010). A property can be sold only if there is Plans Compliance.
- Habitability or Certificate of Occupancy (“agibilità“). You can sell only residential properties with habitability certificate, released by the local municipality. If your property does not have CO, disclose it .
- Energy Efficiency Certificate (Attestato di Prestazione Energetica). You will need a statement certifying the energy efficiency rate of your property to sell it, and the buyer will ask for it. Appoint a local surveyor (geometra) to prepare it. Cost ranges from EUR 150 to 450, depending on property specifications, size, location etc.
- Block of flats Rules and Obligations. If the property is part of an apartment building, you have to give the seller a lot of details: (a) association rules and restrictions (“Regolamento”), (b) condominium expenses contribution shares (“tabelle millesimali”), (c) extraordinary common expenses not fully paid yet.
Who we are and what we do
Studio Legale Forcella Peruzzi, i.e. “Law Firm Forcella Peruzzi”, is a boutique law firm based in Padova (Padua) near Venice and Verona. We represent and advise our clients in many areas of private law: especially Real Estate Law and Italian Inheritance Law (inheriting italian property). We assist foreign clients with all kinds of cross-border estate legal problems, such as inheritance claims, statement of succession (“dichiarazione di successione”), estate planning, preparation of wills and disputes all over Italy. This website, for italian-speaking, aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the Italian succession procedure. If you are not italian-speaking and you have a legal problem on italian inerithance, contact us for a free of charge answer in English or French. We adopt efficient protocols (you are not required to meet us in person nor to be present in Italy for any formality)
Below is a list of our most frequently requested Italian Inheritance services:
- Statement of Succession (dichiarazione di successione): identify estate, beneficiaries and respective inheritance rights, calculate and settle succession taxes, prepare succession documents, validate wills in Italy, file succession paperwork, arrange shipment of goods overseas;
- Estate and Will discovery: search Italian property titles and interests, bank accounts and other assets a beneficiary might be entitled to, search for wills left in Italy;
- Inheritance Claim: claim life insurance award, withdraw funds from bank accounts;
- Terminate co-tenancy or “comunione ereditaria” (joint ownership termination): assist joint owners getting out of a joint ownership, amicably or through Court;
- Liquidate the inherited estate: sell Italian properties or shares of properties, sell invested funds;
- Take succession disputes to Court;
- Italian estate planning: review personal goals, advise on risks and opportunities;
- Consultation for preparation, review, amendment of wills regarding Italian assets;
- Wills: preparation, review, amendment of wills (regarding Italian assets)