by Gabriella Crosariol.

The judgement of the Italian Supreme Court (“Cassazione a sezoni unite”) – number 2867-21, dated January 26th, 2021 stated the possibility of opening two or more international successions, when the deceased had real estate in Italy and also in other countries.

The succession opens in the state of the last residence of the deceased and is governed by the law of that state, regarding his movable assets. If there is also real estate in other countries, a parallel succession must be opened in the country where these properties are located (so called “lex rei sitae”, law of the place where the real estate is located).

There is a division between the law governing the movable assets and the law governing the real estate of the deceased: the first is the law of the last domicile or the last nationality of the deceased, the second, for the real estate, is the so called “lex rei sitae”.

The principle of such division, derives from the Roman law “mobilia personam sequuntur, immobilia vero territorium”(translated: movable assets follow the person, but real estate follow the territory) and operates both in testamentary and in intestate successions.

In international successions two or more successions procedures can be opened (depending on the presence of real estate in other countries) forming two or more hereditary masses, subject to different local rules.

The principle of unity and universality of successions, therefore, gives way to the principle of international division, in case there is real estate in other countries.

DusiLaw Legal&Tax assist from over 30 years its Clients in international successions, directly in English, German and Italian, using advanced negotiation techniques for the resolution of  possible conflicts between heirs and legatees, with the purpose to reach solid agreements, which reflect the interest of all involved parties.