What happens if you make a will in favour of one child only? Reserved quota under Italian Law.

Reserved quota under Italian Law

Each person’s entire estate at the time of his or her death is divided into two parts: a disposable share and a reserved share.

The first can be used during one’s lifetime by means of a will, the second cannot.

The reserved share, more specifically, is an arithmetical fraction of the inheritance that is rightfully and in any case due to the spouse, ascendants and descendants of the testator and that can cover up to three quarters of the inheritance.

In detail, the legitimate subjects, i.e. those to whom a share of the testator’s estate is reserved, are the spouse, the children or their descendants and, in the absence of children, the ascendants.

In particular, half of the estate is reserved for the spouse if there are no children, a third if there is one child, a fourth if there are several children.

On the other hand, one half or two thirds of the estate is reserved for the children or, failing that, their descendants, depending on whether there are one or more of them. If there is also a spouse these shares change to one third and one half.

Finally, ascendants are entitled to one-third of the estate, reduced to one-fourth if they are joint with the spouse.

Testamentary freedom is limited only by the protection of relatives. Once this protection is guaranteed, one’s estate may be disposed of as one pleases, even by allocating it to a single child.

Ultimately, if the other children are guaranteed the reserved share, it does not matter that all the testator’s other assets are intended for only one of them.

The legal system provides in favour of the legitimated the action for reduction under Article 554 of the Civil Code, which provides that: “Testamentary dispositions exceeding the share (537-548) that the deceased could dispose of (556 Civil Code) are subject to reduction within the limits of that share.”

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