Resolving Conflicts Among Heirs: Legal Strategies and Solutions

Conflicts Among Heirs

In the aftermath of a family member’s demise, managing the inheritance often becomes a complex task, exacerbated when disputes emerge among heirs. This article delves into legal pathways and effective approaches to navigate and resolve conflicts, ensuring an equitable and compliant administration of the inheritance in accordance with the deceased’s intentions.

What is Inheritance Succession?
Inheritance succession, post a person’s demise, termed “successione mortis causa,” allows individuals to inherit assets or patrimonial rights from the deceased. Governed by the civil code, particularly articles 565 and following, this mechanism transfers various rights, excluding strictly personal ones of the deceased, to designated heirs. Co-heirs become co-owners of the inherited assets, with each inheriting a share corresponding to their entitlement.

Dealing with Disagreements on Inheritance Quotas’ Values
Disagreements among co-heirs may arise not only regarding the division of assets but also the valuation of their respective shares. Article 791 bis of the Civil Code provides a procedure where the judge appoints a notary or lawyer to formulate a plan for asset distribution. If no heir contests this proposal, the judge proceeds with the division, offering a cost-effective and swift alternative compared to a standard legal process.

Resolving Conflicts Arising from Diverse Heir Motivations
Heirs might find themselves at odds over various aspects of the inheritance, including asset allocation, valuation, or share values. Seeking mediation or assisted negotiation, as outlined in legislative decrees, becomes a viable option. Legal professionals mediate between conflicting parties, aiming to reach an amicable agreement that considers not only the economic value of the estate but also factors like sentimental value.

When Heirs Cannot Reach Consensus
If attempts at amicable resolution fail, heirs can resort to the court located where the succession was initiated. However, before initiating a judicial process, mandatory mediation attempts, as per legislative decree no. 28/2010, are obligatory. In the absence of a prior mediation attempt, the judge pauses the proceedings, providing a three-month window for parties to seek a conciliatory resolution.

The heir initiating the judicial process must invite other heirs to settle the dispute extrajudicially, initiating a mediation request with a recognized mediation entity. Failure to participate in mediation without justification may impact the judge’s final decision.

If parties reach an agreement during mediation, the resulting document holds executive validity. Otherwise, a negative report is generated, and the case proceeds to court, where legal issues are adjudicated, and an expert appraiser assesses the inherited estate for equitable division. The process culminates in a court judgment.

In conclusion, addressing conflicts among heirs demands a nuanced understanding of legal procedures, with mediation often emerging as a favorable alternative to protracted legal battles, facilitating both effective resolution and family harmony.

VGS Lawyers is a law firm specialised in Inheritance under Italian Law. For assistance please contact

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