Conveyancing Question

08/02/2010 - 07:46

Hello eveyone. A question about conveyancing: I understand the difference in the Uk between Tenants in Common and Joint Tenancy, I also understand the difference in Italy between Comunione dei Beni and Seperazione, what I don't understand is why, when a married couple buys a property in Italy the Notaio always asks the couple which regime they are under as regards their property in the Uk. Any thoughts or clarifactions? Also, why can't a couple opt for one or the other (Comunione or Seperazione) when buying in Italy? Any help gratefully received.


Thank you Gala Placidia for your prompt reply. Does this in fact mean then that a married couple buying in Italy, married in the Uk under the regime of 'Joint Tenancy', cannot in fact (By Italian law) opt for 'Seperazione'? Another little tiny question: how can a couple married in the Uk know which regime they are married under - is it written on the marriage certificate?

I'm not a lawyer, but I do not think that you can opt for a "separazione" if this is not the regime under which you were married. Also, I think that, unless the separation of assets regime is stated on the marriage certificate, you automatically fall under the joint assets regime. We were asked all those questions by our Notary when we purchased our property in Tuscany and we produced a copy of our (Spanish) marriage certificate. There is at least one lawyer (Charlotte Oliver) amongst our members. Perhaps, if she is around, she could explain all this better than I....

What's this about the 'regime we were married under'? - I do not believe that makes any sense for an English marriage - at least, not to me ------------ When I bought our holiday place in Italy, about 8 years ago, both my wife and I were present at the purchase. She told the Notary she did not wish to be an owner of the Italian property - so I bought it, and paid for it - and she signed each page of the paperwork to signify she was happy with this arrangement. Makes it easier with things like ICI - I pay the lot, rather than us both paying half each Also, if we decide to sell the place [not something that I expect to do - I hope to pass it on to the kids] - I'm the only one needed to be present at the sale.

I asked this in relation to getting married in Italy recently. In England we are all married with the equivalent of Comunione dei Beni (even though we don't "choose" it or have a choice). In Italy, a UK married couple (or even a couple married under one regime in Italy) can choose to purchase under the other regime so long as both parties sign to agree to it. Some notaries don't necessarily know how it works in the UK and so ask you.

It all depends where you were married and whether you signed a marriage contract.  Brits are automaticlly married in communion of goods unless specifically stipulated otherwise. This means that if you buy a place in Italy, in communion of goods (the default) your wife automatically owns 50%.  If you are in separation of goods, she doesnt.  If you inherit a property during your marriage it remains with you, if you buy before your marriage it remains with you, but anything bought during your marriage is 50% your spouses.   The implications are: If you want prima casa, you both need to sign the act or you can only take 50% of the prima casa incentives each, you both need and agree to sell, and both have to sign the act of sale (or give a procura to do so).  If one of you dies, an act of succession must be done for the other 50% of the property, which according to Italian law, does not necessarily revert to the owner of the other 50% (depends on legal state and heirs).   You cannot just opt for separation of goods, you need certificates.  Without the official documentation the notary should allow the purchase under the default regime for the country where you were married - important if you got married on a beach in Kenya, but are Brits, for example....