Minors and Inheritance
Under Italian Law, when an heir is a minor, the inheritance shall be accepted by his legal representative (such as the parent) in the best interest of the minor himself. In this case, the law provides that the acceptance of the inheritance shall be made with the benefit of inventory.
The acceptance of the inheritance with the benefit of inventory is an act by which the heir declares that he does not intend to unite his own assets with those of the deceased. In particular, this type of acceptance of inheritance implies that the debts of the deceased are paid only by means of the inherited assets, and not also from the own assets of the heir.
In this way, the heir will receive just the residual assets of the estate, deducted all the debts.
In order to protect the child, therefore, the Italian Law has provided for the obligation to accept the inheritance with the benefit of inventory. If the legal representative of the minor does not compile the inventory, then the minor is under the obligation to draft it within one year from when he becomes of age (18 years old in Italy).
However, the legal representative may also refuse to accept the inheritance, if he considers the acceptance to be against the interests of the minor. In this case, the minor may accept the assets even without the benefit of inventory, once he has become 18 years old.
In any case, if the adult heir does not accept the inheritance with the benefit of inventory within one year, then the inheritance is considered to accepted in its entirety.