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Division of the Inheritance without a Will

When someone dies without leaving a Will, under Italian law the following norms apply for the subdivision of the inheritance among the legitimate heirs:

  • descendants of the deceased compete only with the spouse, excluding the ascendants;
  • in the absence of descendants, the spouse competes with the ascendants.

The following table is indicative but is non-exhaustive of all possible options. It is advisable to request the assistance of a lawyer to precisely determine the shares to each heir. This is also essential to ensure correct compilation of the inheritance declaration (which need to be filed within one year of the testator’s death) and of the related taxes quantification.

Legitimate heirsPartition of the estate
Only the spouse (or registered partnership) without parents and siblings100%
The spouse (or registered partnership) and a child1/2 each
The spouse (or registered partnership) and two or more children1/3 to the spouse and 2/3 divided between two children
The spouse (or registered partnership) and more than two children1/3 to the spouse (or registered partnership) and 2/3 divided between children
Only the spouse (or registered partnership), brothers and sisters2/3 to the spouse (or registered partnership) and 1/3 divided between brothers and sisters
Only the spouse (or registered partnership), brothers, sisters and parents2/3 to the spouse (or registered partnership),

1/3 others (to parents at least 1/4)

One child (in the absence of a spouse or registered partnership)100%
Two or more children (in the absence of a spouse or registered partnership)Divided equally between children
Only a parent100%
Only parents1/2 each
Only parents, brothers and sistersDivided equally (to parents at least 1/2)
Only brothers and sistersDivided equally
Only grandparents1/2 to paternal granparents and

1/2 to maternal grandparents

Only great grandparents or other ascendants100% to those with the closest degree of kinship
Only other relatives (within the sixth grade)100% to the closest relative, who excludes others


It is important to highlight that heirs are always entitled to not accept the inheritance. In this case, two options may occur:

  • descendants succeed the withdrawing heir, (c.d. representation);
  • if the representation does not operate towards the withdrawing heir, his quota will be distributed among the other heirs of the same order.

For further information, please visit our Probate & Wills page or contact us for a Free Case Assessment.

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