Italian spouse’s inheritance rights: an overview
According to art.540 Italian Civil Code, the surviving spouse has the right to a share of the heritage. In addition, the spouse has dwelling rights over the family home and the right to use furniture that characterised the family house.
According to Italian Law, the surviving spouse is one of those parties who is entitled to receive a share of the heritage regardless deceased’s permission. Specifically, art. 540 establishes that the surviving spouse is entitled to half of heritage without prejudice to the provisions of art. 542; which establishes further rules in presence of spouse’s sons and daughters.
The surviving spouse, regardless the presence of other legitimate heirs, keeps dwelling rights over the familiar house and all its furniture, in the event the house is part of shared property scheme or it belongs to the deceased spouse.
The above provision only applies when, at the moment of the opening of succession procedure, there was a marriage relationship. Subsequently, it means that, at the time of spouse’s death, the matrimonial bound is not affected by annulment and it still produces the civil effect connected with the marriage situation.
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.
Important to notice, the surviving spouse has dwelling rights only over the familiar house. Therefore, any other house like second house do not fall under the scope of art. 540.
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