Life Insurance policy and inheritance
The life insurance policy is a contract in favour of a third beneficiary party, who acquires the right to receive a payment at the moment of the death of the policyholder. The identification of the third party may be made by the last Will, even in general terms. In this case, it should be noted that the right acquired by the beneficiary party is a right acquired under the insurance contract and not by the last Will, which is used, instead, as a mere instrument of identification.
The Italian Supreme Court has clarified that the right of the beneficiary finds its source in the insurance contract and it does not take part of the inheritance, hence the right itself cannot be the object of testamentary dispositions or of any inheritance rules (such as taxes).
Specifically, the Supreme Court examined a case in which the last Will identified the legitimate heirs as beneficiaries of life insurance. In such a case, the Court, therefore, clarified that the modification of the beneficiary person can only take place through the identification of a new person, hence it cannot take place through the modification of the heirs.