Investments in ItalyReal estate law

Abandoned Land and Properties in Italy: How to Get Unclaimed Assets


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With ILF – Italy Law Firms, you can rely on attorneys specialized in unclaimed asset search throughout Italy and across Europe. If you believe you are the legitimate descendant of inheritance lines that are unclaimed, or if you’re in pursuit of abandoned land or property in Italy, our legal team possesses the expertise and skills necessary to guide you through the process of discovering and acquiring it.

What is an Unclaimed property?

An estate is considered unclaimed when someone passes away without leaving a will or any known heirs to inherit their assets. There are many reasons why an estate may not be distributed to beneficiaries after the deceased’s passing:

  • Lack of Communication: The deceased may not have clearly outlined their wishes for their estate, leaving family unsure of how to divide assets. 
  • Missing Heirs: Relatives entitled to the estate cannot be located, perhaps because the deceased was estranged from family or had no close kin.
  • Legal Issues: Outstanding debts, taxes or legal disputes could result in creditors seizing assets instead of heirs inheriting them. 
  • Unknown Assets: Heirs may be unaware of financial accounts, investments or properties belonging to the deceased.

Without a will or identifiable heirs, the estate is left in a state of limbo. Governments are typically responsible for managing unclaimed estates through their unclaimed property/escheat divisions. Assets are held until rightful owners can be determined.

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Are you entitled to claim an unsettled estate?

If you believe through your family tree you have a claim to an unsettled estate, it’s important to actively search records and work to prove your inheritance rights. ILF – Italy Law Firms can assist you in the whole process. Thoroughly researching the deceased’s records and contacts – to uncover a will or provide leads to locate missing heirs. Hiring an ILF expert  lawyer can help navigate complex legal processes to distribute unclaimed assets. 

The Italian laws on abandoned land and properties

In Italy the redemption of properties fallen into abandonment is regulated with the aim of protecting urban decorum and safety. It provides the possibility of acquiring assets left without maintenance for many years.

According to art. 923 of the Italian Civil Code, “movable things that are not anyone’s property are acquired by occupation. Such are abandoned things and animals that are the subject of hunting or fishing.” Regarding the buildings, article 823 declares that “immovable property that is not the property of anyone shall belong to the state”.

Once the state takes possession of unclaimed property, it’s held in a designated unclaimed property fund. The state then goes to great lengths to track down the rightful owner to restore the property to them. Efforts to locate owners may include posting unclaimed property lists in local newspapers, mailing notifications to the last known address, or reaching out to potential family members or heirs.

If a rightful owner does not step forward to retrieve their abandoned property, the state may eventually sell the property and allocate the proceeds to support public programs. Nonetheless, many states have regulations that require them to hold onto the revenue generated from the sale indefinitely. This ensures that the rightful owner or their heirs can claim the funds at any point in the future.

Furthermore, art. 47 of Presidential Decree 327/2001 (‘Single text on expropriations for public utility’) establishes the procedures for public expropriations.

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Auctions of Unclaimed Properties

Auctions of unclaimed Italian property present an opportunity for individuals and investors to discover and purchase valuable assets that have been left unclaimed. These events can include a variety of items, from jewelry to real estate, and are organized by both government entities and private organizations.

How to get abandoned land in Italy

For agricultural land, in legal parlance, land that remains uncultivated, undeveloped, or undivided among its owners isn’t considered “abandoned.” But property rights do not dissolve or expire due to disuse. In fact, if such neglect results in a health hazard to the surrounding community, it only grants one the right to petition the mayor of the jurisdiction where the property is situated. The mayor can then issue an urgent decree compelling the landowners to secure, rehabilitate, and perform all necessary actions to prevent any nuisance to neighboring residents.

Vast tracts of rural and urban properties lie officially unclaimed after years of abandonment. While long-forgotten by distant heirs, these lands remain legal assets waiting reconnection to rightful ownership. Diligent investigation of centuries-old records can reveal titles lost to the sands of time.

How to get unclaimed buildings and lands in Italy

Empty houses, commercial buildings, lands, factories and other structures sit silently, occasionally crumbling, as true owners remain unknown. Thorough document searches across property registries seek to restore abandoned domains to legal stewardship.

Recovering heirless properties

When exhaustive research fails to identify heirs, properties classified ‘without apparent owner’ enter legal channels for potential new claim. Specialized firms guide interested parties through this uncommon process.

Locating hidden heirs worldwide

Heirs to unclaimed estates often live unexpectedly far abroad, hidden by distance and generations. Professional genealogists globally network historical records to piece together family trees, occasionally finding living relatives in unexpected locales.

Many abandoned lands in Italy and buildings have not been claimed by their rightful heirs. ILF – Law Firm can assist you in conducting an asset search in Europe and locating potential heirs for unclaimed Italian property, through genealogical research and analysis of historical documents.

Managing property claims

Asserting ownership over rediscovered assets requires navigation of complex legal procedures. Italy Law Firms handles all paperwork and interfacing with authorities to streamline the process from initial research to confirmed ownership.

From long-abandoned rural homesteads to valuable urban development sites, unclaimed properties hold potential value within Italy’s borders. With expert guidance, dedicated searchers can legally acquire dormant domains lost to history. Italy Law Firms makes the recovery process seamless and secure.

Renovation Works on Abandoned Houses

Italy abandoned property may require significant renovation efforts due to issues that can arise after extended periods of neglect. Italian law mandates that property owners maintain their buildings in good condition. Thus, if a property has been neglected, renovation works are necessary.

ILF relies on a team of expert architects who can manage your renovation works with ease.

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