I’ve previously discussed what to do with your Italian inheritance but let’s look at cross border estate planning when you are now the individual who owns property or a bank account in Italy. What do you do when it comes to drafting your will and making sure your heirs get their assets, both in the United States and Italy, as easily and quickly as possible?
In my years of international practice between the United States and Italy, there is one thing I have learned…Italy does not like the way we draft documents in the US. Despite international treaties which afford apostilled, US-drafted documents recognition in Italy, they do things a bit differently across the Atlantic.
It is essential to work with an estate attorney who can assist you with drafting a will that can be used in both countries. Key clauses would allow a will which is drafted and probated in New York, for example, to also be used in the succession process in Italy.
Working with a foreign legal consultant from Italy, we can include the exact phrases necessary to pass muster with Italian law; collate the requisite supporting documentation and obtain the apostilles to initiate probate in New York and succession in Italy with little fuss for most estates.
Believe it or not, as fussy as they are with their documents in Italy, it is not necessary for an attorney to undertake succession (probate) in Italy. That fosters an environment of many individuals and online companies offering to undertake succession with very little knowledge or experience in international law. It is much better to plan your estate carefully in the United States, with attorneys well-versed in the process in Italy and in the U.S., with the goal of also making the estate process much easier for your heirs in Italy.