According to Italian Law, in the event of death of an individual, the inheritance process – which may be based on a will or not – takes place. In various inheritance contexts, Italian Law generally distinguishes two types of heirs: rightful heirs are those individuals close to the deceased which are also included in the will. Contrarily, some subject may be entitled to retain inheritance-reserved quota.
Civil code articles 585 and 586 confirm that, in the context of inheritance without a will, reserved quota heirs are those individuals who meet legal requirement to get access to a certain share of the estate. Furthermore, their right to inheritance-reserved quota cannot be opposed by testament provisions. In fact, whenever a will denies or reduces heirs’ right to the reserved quota, that provision is deemed void.
Generally speaking, the reserved quota aims to protect those close relationships between deceased and other subjects. First reserved quota heirs are the spouse and the children of the deceased.
In details, in the event the spouses had no children, the surviving spouse acts as a reserved quota heir and she/he is entitled to receive the whole asset; even though they were separated. In this case, the spouse also inherits the dwelling rights in deceased house plus the right to use furnishing objects. However, the divorced spouse is not considered as a reserved quota heir. In addition, for the purpose of inheritance-reserved quotas, the partner shares the same treatment as spouse.
In absence of surviving spouse, sons (natural and adopted) will be considered reserved quota heirs as they are entitled to same inheritance share. According to art. 581 Civil Code, in the event spouse and sons are contextually reserved quota heir, the spouse is entitled to one third of the estate while sons will share the remaining two third of the estate. Again, in case of contextual presence of spouse and deceased’s brother and sisters, the spouse is entitled to two third of the estate while brothers and sister get the remaining one third.
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