Frequently Asked Questions on Greek Inheritance Law:
I wish my spouse to live in my house in Greece (or receive the rents) through her lifetime. Can this be done?
Of course. Life Estate is a right that can be inherited.
How should such a Will be drafted?
The most common types of Wills provided by Greek Law, are the following:
Types of Greek Wills:
Is it the Greek or the foreign Law that regulates inheritance rights on my assets in Greece?
- Holographic Greek Will:
Written by hand and bearing the date and the signature. No expenses. It can be executed in any country. It should be
delivered to a trustful person—preferably a specialised attorney—who will undertake its probation to the Greek
Court (Athens Court of First Instance), right after the deceased's death.
- Public Greek Will:
Executed before a Public Notary in the presence of witnesses. Should it be executed before an Australian Public Notary,
it must bear the Note APOSTILE, provided by the Hague Convention (ratified both by Australia and Greece). Here again, it
must be probated by the Greek Court, right after the deceased's death.
- Secret Greek Will:
The testator delivers the document to the Notary Public, stating that the document consists of his last Will and
Greek Estate issues are governed by the law of the nationality that the deceased had at the time of his death. If he had both
the foreign and the Greek nationality (like most Greek expats do), then, Greek law applies.
May we note here, that Greek nationality is acquired, even if only one of the parents is Greek.
Can I exclude from my assets to be inherited in Greece my spouse or my children?
Children, parents and husband/wife cannot be excluded completely from their inheritance rights in Greece by virtue of a will,
except for very specific reasons (for example life threat of the deceased). This is called a "forced share" right ("nomimi moira").
I insist that my spouse has nothing to do with Greece and I do not wish him/her to take any
percentage of my Greek assets there. I wish to leave them only to my children, so that they know their roots. Can this be arranged?
Provided that there is no impact on other protective provisions, our Greek Law Firm would probably recommend that a Parental Gift
be done to the children now, with or without withholding of the Life Estate. In the first case, the owner of the Life Estate may use
(or receive rents from) the property through his lifetime; Upon his death, full title will be conveyed to the children automatically,
without any inheritance proceedings.
I have already executed a will. Can I draft a new one?
Of course. According to Greek Law on Wills, the latter revokes any prior will, if they are in conflict. To avoid uncertainties,
it is better that there is specific revocation in the latter will of any former wills.
What happens if I do not execute a will for my property in Greece?
In case that a will is not found (intestate succession), the law arranges the line and the shares of the inheritance according
to the following:
What is the inheritance tax in Greece that my heirs will have to pay for the property that they
- Husband / wife and children
- Husband / wife, parents and brothers / sisters
- Husband / wife, grandparents, their children and grandchildren
- Husband / wife and great-grandparents
- Husband / wife
- The State
The heirs, (intestate or through a will), must file an inheritance tax statement within 6 months, if they live in Greece or 12
months, if they live abroad. The time limit for this statement begins as of the death; should there be a will, as of the date of the
will's probation. The statement can be submitted either in person or through an authorised attorney.
For the assessment of the inheritance tax, the heirs are enlisted in categories according to the relation that connects them with
the deceased. For each category a different progressive tax scale applies, rising from 0% up to 60%.
Can my heirs minimise Greek inheritance taxes?
We are estate tax specialists in Greece. By applying the appropriate structures and by utilising some vehicles the law provides
(such as parental gifts combined with withholding of the life estate right etc), inheritance tax can be minimised.
Will my heirs have any obligations over and above the inheritance taxes in Greece?
When the inheritance includes real estate in Greece, then the heir must "accept" the Estate in Greece by virtue of a Deed (Greek
Title) drafted and executed before a Public Notary, which must be registered in the Land Registry (Ypothikofilakeion) of the area in
Greece where the real estate is located, in the name of the heir. Additionally it must be declared in the newly established Land
Registry Cadastral (Ktimatologio) in order to perfect your Title on the Greek property. Failure to comply with the above, does not lead
to ownership. The above transactions can be carried out either in person or through an attorney.
Can I leave my Greek real estate property to my heirs totally in undivided interests, or do I
have to divide it first?
If the estate includes real estate in Greece and is inherited by more heirs (society of heirs) it is possible to be divided among
them as it is, or if that is not possible, to be sold upon a court's judgment. The proceeds of this compulsory auction sale will be
distributed between the heirs in proportion to their shares.
Finally, it must be stressed that Greek Estates, and in particular real estate situated in Greece, should not be neglected without
administration. Ownership is in jeopardy, if someone takes physical possession on the real estate (adverse possession), especially if
the real estate is rural or just a lot.
The procedure of the Probate and the Acceptance of an Estate in Greece, may be accomplished through a Special Power of Attorney
to a specialised Greek Lawyer, like our Firm.