The private client team at Oliver & Partners specialises in advising and assisting clients and their families in a range of matters relating to their assets and estate, including tax planning in collaboration with our financial consultants, the preparation of wills for both Italian and foreign nationals, successions, gifts and donations, the establishment of trusts, and the representation with power of attorney or court order in the case of minors, old age or incapacity. The lawyers in our private client team have strong people skills and a background in both English and Italian law.
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WILLS, SUCCESSION LAW AND PROBATE
Our international clients frequently request advice on drawing up a will to cover their Italian property or amending their existing wills to cover their worldwide property.
We provide specialist advice in relation to the conflict of the common law rules of succession (based on the principle of a testator’s freedom of disposition) with the rules of Italian succession law, which provide for fixed shares to pass to certain family members, whether or not the deceased made a will.
We can advise on a solution based on each person’s individual needs, assets and family situation and offer a safe will-keeping service both in our office and with the National Will Register in the United Kingdom.
We advise on liability for inheritance tax, potentially exempt transfers or capital gains tax in both countries.
We are able to arrange for the presentation of a succession declaration in Italy, the acceptance or renunciation of inheritance, and the transfer of Italian property to the heirs or the Executors. We often work alongside UK-based probate solicitors and executors in complex cross-border estates where the heirs are also dealing with property in the UK which requires a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. We offer advice and representation to heirs in resolving disputes over the deceased’s property.
The Regulation (EU) 650/2012 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and acceptance and enforcement of authentic instruments in matters of succession and on the creation of a European Certificate of Succession, was published with the aim of harmonising rules of succession law in Europe. The UK, Ireland and Denmark have chosen not to opt-in to the Regulation. The Regulation will come into force in 2015. Our legal team has closely followed the evolution of this new European law since the publication of the Green Paper in 2005.
Charlotte Oliver has participated in conferences held at the European Academy of Law in Trier 2010 and 2012 attended by Notaries, lawyers and representatives of the European Commission and Ministries of Justice, and was invited to give a presentation on the subject to the conference held by the Fondazione Italiana del Notariato in Treviso in 2010.
Follow this link to the Eur-Lex page for the text of the new Regulation:
TRUSTS AND DONATIONS
Trusts are recognised in Italian law, as an instrument which can be used for the transfer of ownership of property to be held by one or more Trustees for a named beneficiary, however these will always be governed by the appropriate foreign law. We can advise in relation to the formation and establishment of testamentary or intervivos trusts. Charlotte Oliver is a member of the Association “Il Trust in Italia” and STEP Italia (Italian Branch of the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners.
PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE CLIENTS
We assist clients resident in Italy who are unable to manage their property or financial affairs, whether temporarily or permanently, such as minors, the elderly and in case of incapacity. This may involve the preparation of powers of attorney with a Notary Public, or in more serious cases in applications to the courts in Italy for guardianship orders (amministrazione di sostegno, interdizione).
In many cases our clients or their families have assets in more than one country. Currently a court order issued by a guardianship judge in Italy is not automatically recognised in the UK in respect of a person’s property and financial affairs situated there. We can assist in making a separate application to the Office of the Public Guardian in the UK, for a Court of Protection Order or a Lasting Power of Attorney.