Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Italy

Help - Financial Advisor took whole estate

My great aunt died almost a year ago in Italy. The estate is very large. She had no children and her only family is her still living mentally ill brother and myself and my sister. The family was kept distant by her care takers (was not informed of her illness originally). Someone informed me that there was ''planning'' to take the estate by her care givers and I contacted several people for help. The only will that came forward is handwritten with no witnesses and no proof that it was written or signed by her. Her financial advisor's wife and 2 kids inherited the whole estate and he has acted suspiciously in many ways. He is aware that the family has no money to contest or pay for legal help and will get away with his planning. My great aunt always claimed that we were her only family and vocally indicated certain properties would go to named family individuals.

One reluctant witness even claimed seeing a later dated document that contained her wishes for her estate which has not been produced. Anyone I have explained the facts to has told me I have a strong case but lack the initial funds to pay for legal help. I desperately need help.

Asked on 12/18/03, 10:14 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

C. David DuMond Law Offices of David DuMond

Re: Help - Financial Advisor took whole estate

If your great aunt was a resident of Italy at the time of her death, more than a year ago, then Italian law will govern the disposition of her estate. I suggest you contact American embassy or consular officers for the city nearest her residence, and see what they advise. Generally courts try to give effect to the wishes of the decedent, and if the decedent's family members were not close enough to care for her, then a judge could easily believe the decedent wished to reward her caretakers at the expense of her family. In any event, you need to contact someone with experience in Italian law. Good luck.

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Answered on 12/18/03, 10:29 am

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