Donations, inheritances, wills and living wills, cohabitation contracts, marriage agreements, disabilities and laws relating to future generations. As a trusted consultant and public official, the notary can help us deal with these delicate situations safely and in full legality.


The cohabitation of persons linked by a stable emotional relationship, such as de facto situations not legalised by any formal act, was for the first time governed in an explicit way by the so-called “Cirinnà law” (no. 76 of 20 May 2016).

The legislation in question applies to couples, whether heterosexual or homosexual, made up of two adults not bound to each other by kinship, affinity or adoption, marriage or civil union, who are stably united by the emotional ties of a couple and who provide mutual moral and material assistance.

Provided that the cohabitation is noted in a corresponding entry at the registrar’s office, they are accorded some rights including, specifically:

  • rights of visitation and assistance, as well as access to personal information, as already granted to spouses and family members in the event of illness or hospitalisation;
  • the right of each cohabitant, in anticipation of any future diminished mental capacity or death, to designate the other as their representative for decisions regarding health, organ donation, cremation, etc .;
  • the right to continue living in the house of common residence, for a period between a minimum of two and a maximum of five years, in the event of the death of the cohabitant who owned it; or, in the event that the dwelling was not owned but rented, the right to take over the relevant contract in the case of the death or withdrawal of the cohabitant tenant;
  • the right to share in the profits of a family business in which the de facto cohabitant, who is not a shareholder or employee, works on a stable basis;
  • the right to compensation for damages in the event of the death of the partner caused by an unlawful act of a third party.

In addition, de facto cohabitants were granted the possibility of regulating their financial relationship by the signing of a specific “cohabitation contract”. For further details, see the relevant section.



Unlike the provisions for persons in a civil union, who are treated exactly like married couples as to succession in the case of the death of one of the partners, no inheritance rights are recognised in the event of the death of a de facto cohabitant. That is why it is important to make a will, and in particular a “public” (legally witnessed) one, in order to plan one’s succession by establishing the cohabitant as heir or otherwise attributing certain assets to him or her as a legacy.