Restrictions on the freedom to dispose of one’s succession by will (reserved portion).

Last update: 10/3/2012

Italian law provides for a reserved portion for the spouse, descendants and ascendants of the deceased. If there is a child, he/she is entitled to half of the reserved portion . If there is more than one child, the children are entitled to two-thirds. If there is a spouse and one child, the reserved portion is two-thirds. If there is a spouse and more than one child, the amount of the reserved portion is three-quarters . If there are only ascendants, the reserved portion is one third . In the case of competition between ascendants and spouse, the reserved portion of the spouse is half of the estate and that of the ascendants is a quarter..

In all cases, the law stipulates that the spouse has the right to inhabit the family home, owned by the deceased or both, and the right to use the furniture in it .

The beneficiaries of the reserved portion cannot relinquish their reserved portion before the death of the deceased. No one can renounce a succession before death.

Detailed information

Italian law sets down the right to a reserved portion for the spouse of the deceased and his/her descendants and ascendants. If there is a child, he/she is entitled to the reserved portion of half of the estate (Art. 537 Civil Code); if there are several children they are entitled to two thirds. If there is a spouse and a child, the reserved portion is two thirds; if there is a spouse and several children, the reserved portion is three-quarters (Art. 542 Civil Code). If there are only ascendants, their reserved portion is one third (Art. 538 Civil Code). In the case where there are ascendants and a spouse, the reserved portion of the spouse is a half and that of the ascendants a quarter (Art. 544 Civil Code). In any case, the law stipulates that the spouse is entitled to live in the couple’s home that is the property of the deceased or both spouses, in addition to the right to use the movables (Art. 540 Civil Code).

What is the procedure to be followed to asset a right to the reserved portion? What are the time limits?

The time limit is ten years. The procedure is a judicial action called an “action for abatement”.

Is it possible to renounce the reserved portion?

The beneficiaries of the reserved portion cannot renounce their reserved portions before the death of the deceased. Nobody can renounce a succession before the death.