How is a will drawn up and can I register it?
Last update: 10/7/2012
There are special forms that a person wanting to draw up a will must respect. Italian law recognises, among others, the following forms of wills:
- a will executed before a civil law notary in the presence of two witnesses;
- a sealed will drawn up by the testator and transmitted to a civil law notary subject to certain formalities;
- a holographic will which must be written entirely by the testator with his/her own hand and signed by him/her;
- international wills.
In a cross-border situation, a will is valid in principle if it complies with the laws of the State where the will was drawn up or the laws of the State whose nationality the testator held or where the testator had his/her residence at the time the will was drawn up or at the time of his/her death.
A will can be registered with the register of wills, kept by the Minister of Justice, thanks to notarial records.
Information about how to keep, to register and to search for a will are also available on the website of the European Network of Register of Wills Association (ENRWA) in the section “Information sheet”.
What are the conditions governing the validity of a will as regards its form and substance?
The person who decides to establish a will must respect specific forms. Italian law recognises the following forms of wills, among others:
- the authentic will, issued by a civil law notary assisted by two witnesses;
- the secret will drawn up by the testator and issued by the civil law notary with certain formalities;
- the holographic will that must be written entirely by hand by the testator and dated and signed by him/her.
- the international will.
In a cross-border situation, a will is in principle valid if it conforms to the law of the State in which the will has been drafted or to the national law or residence of the testator at the time the will is drafted or at the time of death (Art. 47 p.i.l.).
Are agreements relating to a future inheritance authorised? Who can conclude such an agreement? What form must be respected?
Agreements relating to a future inheritance (when Italian law is applicable, of course) are prohibited.
Are there other possibilities for settling a succession?
The Family Agreement (Articles 768a/768g Civil Code) concerns the transfer of a business and shares.
How and where can I register a will? What is the effect of registration?
There is a register of wills, managed by the Ministry of Justice through the Notarial Archives. If requested by the testator, the civil law notary can also ask for the will to be recorded by a body of another Member State of the Basel Convention on the establishment of a scheme of registration of wills.
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