OPA Magazine, May 1, 2012
According to Greek Inheritance law, the bequest of the deceased’s property to his/her legal heirs is effected in two ways: by virtue of a Will or in intestacy.
Greek Law provides three types of Wills: The Public Will, the Secret Will and the Holographic Will. The Holographic is the easiest and cheapest Will, written entirely by the hand of the testator, who must include the word “Will”, its date and signs same, verifying its content. The Testator is not required to follow any type of formality towards drafting a holographic Will, other than to state to the document his wish for the bequest of his Estate upon his passing. In fact, according to Greek Law, the holographic Will can be in a form of a private document or of a letter, showing the last will of the Testator.
Since the Holographic Will has to be written entirely by the hand of the testator, it is implied that it is void, if it is written through mechanical means, i.e. through a computer, a typewriter, a tape.
Is the handwritten Will required to be drafted in Greek? No, Holographic Wills can be written in any language, provided that the Testator was aware of that language and was able to express himself.
Any addition in the side of the will or any postscripts have to be signed by the Testator, otherwise, they are not taken into account. Any erasures or any deletions are noted by the Probate Court and given their importance can result to the partial or total nullification of the Will. In general, Greek law forbids the interference of third parties to the drafting of the holographic Will, in case that it is implied from the content of the Will that the Testator was not able to express his own free will in the document.
The holographic Will has to include the date when it was drafted, an indispensable requirement especially if the testator has left more than one Wills (the most recent supersedes any earlier, if in conflict) . Finally, the signature of the Will is also required to be placed at the end of the Will, under the Testator’ s own handwriting and not through seals, stamps or any other mechanical means, in order to cover the entire content of the Will.
After its drafting, the Will should be handed to a trusted person in order to take care of its probate after the testator’s passing
Finally, it should be noted that when there is property in Greece, the drafting of a Greek Will (according to the Greek Law) is strongly recommended.