Accepting an Inheritance or Waiving the Right to Inherit

Accepting an Inheritance or Waiving the Right to Inherit

An heir could have several personal reasons to consider an inheritance burdensome.

Sometimes it may be worth waiving the right to inherit or accepting the bequest with benefit of inventory. For instance, if a parent wants to pass on the inheritance of a spouse directly to his/her children or if liabilities attached to the assets to be acquired are greater than their value.

Accepting with benefit of inventory doesn’t mean the heirs can pick and choose the assets they would like to receive.

It means that once the inheritance is accepted, heirs will act as inheritance administrators and will take all necessary steps to cover all or most of the leftover debts of the deceased.

Once all debts attached to the inheritance assets are covered, heirs will be entitled to keep the remaining value of the assets of the inheritance. In any case, heirs will not be held responsible for liabilities exceeding the inheritance value with personal assets and will have a chance to evaluate the value of all assets before making a decision.

The intention to forfeit a right to receive an inheritance or to accept it with benefit of inventory must always be communicated in writing by means of a written statement done before a notary public or before a designated court officer.

Consider that for each of these actions, there are specific costs and time limits involved.

Otherwise, the statute of limitation for rights to accept an inheritance is ten years from the death of the departed. However, inheritance-related taxes may carry penalties when the acceptance is made after 12 months from the death of the deceased.

Acceptance can be express or tacit. The express acceptance is made by means of a private or notarial deed. An acceptance is considered tacit when heirs act as new owners of the estate.

If you disclaim an inheritance in absence of a valid will, Italian intestate succession laws indicate the first in line who has a right to inherit.