My husband and I bought a house in Italy together

06/09/2020 - 14:04

My husband and I bought a house in Italy together before we got married, but the deeds were only in his name. Can I still make an Italian will that would allow my children (his step-children) to be benefeciaries to half of the property?



Hello Balilee7,

Before answering your question, I need to know if you and your husband got married in separate or joint assets.

In this last case, you can make a will for your part of the ownership.

One more information might be useful for you: under Italian law we have a so called "Quota di Legittima", which means that your children, but also your husband, are protected by law in terms of receiving a portion of the inheritance. This happens independently from drafting a Will or not.

Of course, we need to make sure that Italian law is the one which will be applied. This also depends on the Country where you have spent most of the time whilst married.

Luxury Law

Italian succession law is a bit of a minefield - and alot depends where you live.  If, for example, you are French and you live in France with a hholiday home here, then a French (international) will can cover the succession of your Italian home.   

If you are British , but have lived in Italy for a while,  then Italian succession law will cover your Italian property even if you have a British will. 

The UK opted out of the  latest European laws on succession in 2016 (I think) which complicates it all a bit more.  

In your case, there are a few unknowns - if you are Brits and married in Britain without any  specific separation of goods, (and spend the majority of your married life there)  then you are in communion of goods  - but the house was bought by your husband before you were married in his name only - so its 100% his.  Stepchildren have no automatic insertion into the Italian succession law, so assuming your husband were to die without a will, everything depends on whether he has other children.  If not then the default position is that you would inherit.  You can then leave the house to your children who would get it even if you didnt make a will.  

As you can see there are infinite variables.   Id suggest you contact Charlotte Oliver at  who is a British and Italian lawyer working out of ROme, and she will undoutedly be able to help you. 

Completely agree with comprehensive reply from modicasa. I live in UK but have a place in Italy which my British solicitor told me needs to be covered by an Italian will but my experience is that certain direct relatives have rights that cannot be over-ruled by any will.

Hi.  If you have a holographic will (handwritten and very simple) which directs the Italian authorities to your British will, then once it is publshed in Italy it can take precedence over the law of succession here.   Its just a question of being organised really, and keeping up with all the changes in Italian law.  Obvioulsy if you leave everything to the donkey sanctuary it might be contested though.