Is my American will legally valid in Italy

How to gain Italian Citizenship through Marriage and make it look easy.
September 15, 2021
Counterfeit Italian Foods
December 14, 2021

by Grace Wilson University of Arkansas in Fayetteville Majoring in International and Global Studies with a minor in Legal Studies. Currently (2021) attending the university’s Rome Center. Intern at Family Law Italy- Rome: a boutique law firm shortlisted by the US and UK Embassy in Rome

Email Website:

Is my American will legally valid in Italy?

 If you enjoy order and certainty like myself, then you like to have you affairs in order. Particularly if you are moving to a different country. A part of this is making sure you have a working, legal will. Transnational wills can be tricky. In a short answer, yes your American will can work, but it is not that simple. “Transnational wills that involve US and Italian components are subject to US, EU and Italian conflict-of-law rules.[1]” Italy has precise rules about inheritance and wills. These rules tend to be long and complicated; they allow for less discretion on the part of the settlor and can be confusing if you are not used to the Italian legal system. “In Italy, statutes impose forced heirship rules, calculation of lifetime gifts made by the settlor, nullity of any agreement about future inheritance (different from a disposition by will), and very little room for the validity of a trust.[2]” An international will usually bring up two questions, who is the competent judge and what law will be used. There is a large difference in the rules between the two countries about competent judge and applicable law, Italy has precise written rules while America has unwritten rules. You also have to consider the rules stated by the European Union. These will likely prevail over the Italian and American rules but there are aspects of a will and testament that the European Union does not cover. This includes aspects implied by succession like family relationship, marital property, trusts, inheritable taxes, and property. Due to the lack of European Union rules a judge might refer to the American rules presiding over those aspects[3].

Given all of this, it might be easier to create an Italian will. If you are living in Italy at the time of death then an Italian judge is more likely to use the rules of the country you lived in, provided that you were living there legally. Citizenship will play a large role in this as well, “As for Americans specifically, EUSR allows those who do not have dual citizenship to choose the law applicable to succession of their state in the US, while Italian law allows it only to those American who have dual citizenship.[4]” Having a foreign will can make it difficult for your heirs to transfer any of your Italian assets. They would have to be identified by an Italian notary and it can be very costly[5].

           In conclusion, your American will can work in Italy but it can cause extra work, stress, and monetary cost for your inheritors. If you are legally living in Italy or if you have dual citizenship it will be easier to create an Italian will.

[1] Arturo, Grasso. “Italian Will and Property in Italy – My Lawyer in Italy® Law Firm.” My Lawyer in Italy®, 1 Sept. 2021,

[2] Pimpolari, Eleanora. “Choice of Law in Italian-American Successions.” My Lawyer in Italy®, 9 Aug. 2021,

[3] Pimpolari, Eleanora. “Choice of Law in Italian-American Successions.” My Lawyer in Italy®, 9 Aug. 2021,

[4] Pimpolari, Eleanora. “Choice of Law in Italian-American Successions.” My Lawyer in Italy®, 9 Aug. 2021,

[5] Bottino, Carlo. “Making a Will in Italy – Italy.” Angloinfo, 2012,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *