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Probate Guide

View profile for Michele Menato
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Irrespective of whether a person has left a Will or not, our team of Italian, French and Spanish legal advisers can assist you with your European legal, tax and administrative responsibilities.

Our aim is to make every step as straight forward as possible so here are brief explanations of what you can expect when dealing with Italian, Spanish and French succession procedures, how our teams can assist you and who to contact to receive a fee estimate tailored to your individual probate needs.

Successione (Italian Probate)

The Italian Dichiarazione di Successione is the mandatory fiscal declaration, which must be sent to the Italian tax authority, Agenzia delle Entrate, to inform them of a transfer of estate from a deceased to his/her heirs. It also assists with the calculation of inheritance tax payable upon transfer.

The deadline for filing the Dichiarazione di Successione with the Agenzia del Entrate is 12 months from the date of death of the deceased. An application to change the names in the proprietorship register of immoveable goods must also be sent within 30 days from filing the Dichiarazione di Successione.

Under Italian law, if a person dies testate (i.e. with a Will), the Will must be made public through a procedure called pubblicazione. Provided no objections are raised, the estate of the testator is then transferred to the heirs nominated in the Will in accordance with the wishes of the testator. On the other hand, if a person dies intestate (i.e. without a Will), Italian law provides specific rules on who will inherit what (Successione legittima).

We can provide you with assistance in complying with your Italian legal, administrative and tax responsibilities by providing you with an estimate of the inheritance tax you will need to pay, helping you complete the Dichiarazione di Successione and, if necessary, providing you with expert legal advice in the event no valid Will is available.

Contact Michele Menato, Head of our Italian Wills & Probate Department, for expert legal advice and assistance.

Sucesiones (Spanish Probate)

The Spanish Declaracion de Herederos y/o Aceptacion de Herencia is the Deed, which must be signed before a Public Notary confirming the death of the deceased, together with a list of his/her Spanish assets and confirmation of the beneficiary/ies of the estate. This Deed must be filed together with the Spanish Inheritance Tax form containing a calculation of the IHT due at the Spanish tax office: the Agencia Tributaria, within six months from the date of death of the deceased. Penalties apply in the event of delay, but once this is paid the estate of the deceased can then be passed to the beneficiary/ies.

We can provide you with an estimate of the inheritance tax due to the Spanish tax office and help you obtain all the documents required by the Public Notary to prepare the Declaracion de Herederos y/o Aceptacion de Herencia Deed. We will also conduct a search at the Central Inheritance Registry to check whether the deceased has registered a Spanish Will or not.

Alternatively, you can grant Power of Attorney to us so we can deal with the process on your behalf from start to finish, including obtaining a NIE number (a non-resident Spanish tax number), which you will need to pay the Spanish inheritance tax due.

For an estimate of our fees tailored to your specific probate needs contact Rocio Perez, Head of our Spanish Wills & Probate Department.

Succession (French Probate)

The French Déclaration de Succession (inheritance tax declaration) needs to be filed within 6 months from the date of death of the deceased if he/she died in France. On the other hand the, Déclaration de Succession can be filed up to 12 months from the date of death of the deceased if he/she died outside France. Please note that penalties will apply in the event of delay.

The Déclaration de Succession must also be accompanied by an Acte de Notoriété (equivalent to the grant of probate in England & Wales) and an Attestation Immobilière (the certificate transferring title of property to the beneficiaries). These documents are usually prepared by a French notaire and signed at his office, but you can also choose to grant a special power of attorney to the notaire's clerk so he/she may sign the documents on your behalf.

We can guide you or your solicitor in completing the legal formalities required in France to settle the French estate of your family member. We can also work in conjunction with the French notaire to obtain the necessary legal documents, as well as assist you in organising the execution and the legalisation of a power of attorney so as to avoid the need for the beneficiaries to travel to France to execute the required legal documents.

Contact Loic Raboteau, Head of our French Probate Department, to find out more about how B&M Law LLP can assist you through this difficult time.

Disclaimer: These articles are for information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice. Professional advice should always be obtained before applying any information to particular circumstances.

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