I’ve previously discussed what to do with your Italian inheritance but let’s look at drafting a cross-border estate plan between the United States and Italy. What do you do when it comes to drafting your will and making sure that your heirs get their assets in both countries, as easily and quickly as possible under US probate and Italian succession laws?
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.
The key to the success of your cross-border estate plan is 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 was drafted and probated in New York, for example, to also be used in an Italian succession procedure.
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 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’s 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’s much better to carefully plan your cross-border estate plan in the United States, with attorneys well-versed in the process here and in Italy, with the goal of also making it much easier for your heirs in Italy to properly exercise their rights.