We are very sensitive to the need of Diaspora Greeks to claim their Greek inheritance. Our deep legal experience in thousands of similar cases, has led us to be legal experts in clearing up Greek inheritances, even long neglected matters and/or matters contested by third parties.
The Associate lawyers in Greece can assist in Greek inheritance issues by tracing the property title anywhere in Greece; they investigate the legal and actual status; and provide a full legal analysis report including photographs, usually within one – two weeks, as of the time that the client has provided the necessary information.
After the passing of a person, the crucial issue is who will be entitled to the Greek inheritance that the deceased has left, that is who will be called as his legal heir, according to the Greek Inheritance Law as this is determined by the relevant provisions of the Greek Civil Code.
Greek Inheritance Law provides the bequest of the deceased’s property to his legal heirs in two ways: by virtue of a will or in intestacy.
In case that the deceased has left a Greek will, the bequest of the inherited property, i.e. the transfer of the property under the names of his heirs, appointed by the deceased, and to what property parts they are entitled to, is arranged according to the provisions of the Greek will. The law provides three types of Greek wills:
Upon the death of the testator, the Greek will has to be probated before the competent Court, in order for the Greek Will’s content to become known to anyone. Every person holding a Greek will is obliged to take care of its probate. The Greek will is probated, only if the original document can be submitted before the competent Probate Court, regardless of its validity. Copy of a missing will, cannot be probated, even if it is a certified copy of the will or a photocopy of same.
In case that the deceased has not left a Greek will, or in case that the will has been nullified totally or partially, or in case that the will settles only a part of the deceased’s Greek inheritance, the succession is settled by law (intestacy rules).
The relevant provisions of Greek Inheritance Law, determine the relatives of the deceased who will be called as his heirs. Succession in intestacy is based on the kinship with the deceased. Thus, the law has enlisted the relatives and therefore the legal heirs of the deceased in categories (“classes”). Relatives of previous classes exclude relatives of “next of kin” classes.
More specifically, according to Greek Inheritance Law, in the first class as heirs of the deceased are called his children, or their children in case that the latter have predeceased, as well as the surviving spouse of the deceased. In the second class, as heirs are called the parents and siblings of the deceased and if they have passed away before the deceased, their children and grandchildren, as well as the surviving spouse. In the third class, as heirs of the deceased are called his grandparents, as well as his surviving spouse. In case that none of the above exist, as legal heirs of the deceased (heirs of the fourth class) are called his great grand parents, as well as the surviving spouse of the deceased. Sole heir of the fifth class, the law names the surviving spouse, while, if none of the above exist, sole heir is the Greek State.
Greek Inheritance Law does not provide of a specific deadline for accepting an inheritance. On the contrary, the law provides a specific deadline for the renouncement of the Greek inheritance right on a deceased’s Greek estate. This deadline expires within four (4) months upon the deceased’s passing or after the Greek will’s probate by the competent Court or Consulate. Said deadline expires a year after the deceased’s passing or after the Will’s probate, in case that the deceased’s last domicile was abroad or if his heir became aware of the passing while he was residing abroad.
After the passing of the above deadlines for renouncement, it is conferred that the heir has accepted the estate and has substituted into the rights and obligations arising from the Greek Inheritance. The heir has the right to accept the Greek Estate by stating clearly that he accepts same, finalising the Acceptance of Inheritance proceedings. However, in case that the Greek Inheritance consists of real estate property, the Acceptance of Inheritance is accomplished through the execution of an Acceptance of Inheritance Deed before a Notary Public, which has to be registered before the competent Greek Land Registry (Ypothikofilakeion) of the property’s location and in some cases maybe the Greek Land Registry Cadastral (Ktimatologio) as well.
The heirs, (in intestacy or by virtue of a Will), must file an inheritance tax statement within 6 months, if Greece domiciled, or within 12 months, if they live abroad. The time limit for the submission of the tax statement in principle begins as of the passing; and/or the Greek will’s probate date.
The inheritance tax obligation is subject to an assessment of the Estate’s tax value in consideration of consanguinity levels to the deceased and applicable tax exemptions.
The procedure of the Probate and the Acceptance of a Greek Inheritance, may be accomplished through a Limited Power of Attorney to a specialised Greek Lawyer.