Will lawyers in Greece are specialized in any legal matters that are related to inheritance and drawing wills. Over the years, our team has successfully managed all types of legal cases, including contesting a will in Greece.
Most of the regulations concerning these matters derive from the Greek Inheritance Law, which regulates the shares of assets the heirs are entitled to, in relation with the deceased. For advice on making a will in Greece or information on the regulations of law, our team of Greek lawyers remain at your service.
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What is the law on inheritance in Greece?
The main purpose of a will is to express the wishes of the testator (the person drawing the will) as to how his or her assets should be divided after his or her passing. However, this has to be done within the limits of the law.
In Greece, there are 2 main legal ways of inheriting the assets of a testator:
- as per the regulations expressed by the testator when making a will in Greece;
- following the rules of the inheritance law in Greece where there is no will (also known as intestacy).
Some of the basic regulations regarding inheritance and wills are presented in the list below:
- the rules for inheritance are given by the Hellenic Civil Code, Articles 1710 – 2035;
- as per the inheritance law in Greece where there is no will, the Greek authorities will divide the assets to heirs based of 6 classes of kinship to the deceased;
- the 1st class represents children and grandchildren, the 2nd the parents and the brothers/sisters, the 3rd – grandparents, the 4th – great grandparents, the 5th – the spouse, the 6th the Greek state;
- depending on the structure of the family, the spouse can inherit 25% to 50% of the properties;
- please mind that a person can also renounce the right to inheritance, and this can be done in a period of 1 year.
What types of wills are available in Greece?
Greece recognizes few types of wills; our Greek law firm can present information on each category. In short, there are 3 main types, as presented below:
- holographic will – written down by hand by the testator;
- mystic will – handwritten by the testator or by another person and signed by the testator in front of a notary public or a Greek lawyer in front of 3 witnesses;
- public will – the testator declares his or her last wishes in front of 1 notary public and 3 witnesses (none of them family), or in the presence of 2 notary publics and 1 witness.
What are the characteristics of a Greek holographic will?
According to the Greek Inheritance Law, a person can draw up a holographic will. This type of will refers to the document that is written by hand by the testator and it represents one of the ways through which voluntary succession can be completed in this country.
Wills in Greece have to be prepared in accordance with their type and for each type of will there are certain minimum requirements the law requires, as mentioned above. For this type of document, the law states that it must be written down by hand and that the testator must personally write the document.
The minimum requirements for a holographic will are stipulated under Articles 1721-1723 of the Greek Civil Code. The law also mentions that the testator is not legally required to submit the document to an official third party, such as a law firm in Greece.
However, legal obligations concerning the document will appear immediately after the testator’s death, in the sense that any party who holds the document (such as a family member, which is almost always the case) must address a judge or a consular mission closest to where the testator had his or her last residential address.
This rule is mandatory as per the Articles 1774-1775 of the Civil Code, on which our Greek lawyers can provide in-depth legal advice (on the obligations of the person who holds the will of the testator as well as on the legal steps that must be initiated).
Can heirs renounce their inheritance?
A heir can renounce inheritance in Greece, according to the provisions of the law. This right is regulated by the Civil Code as well (Article 1847). The law prescribes a time limit for this and provided that the competent authorities have not been informed of the renouncing of the inheritance, it will be considered that the heir entitled to the respective inheritance has accepted it.
The latter is regulated under the Article 1710 of the same law, but it must be noted that the Greek state is not included in this provision, as the state can’t renounce an inheritance. In general, the timeline for renouncing an inheritance is 4 months and in this time the person must complete certain actions.
There are special rules for inheritance in Greece and how to claim it as well, for those who want to enter into the possession of their legal rights. This will vary based on the characteristics of each case – if there is a will, if there isn’t a will, if the heirs contest the will and so on.
For instance, for Greek inheritance law and no will the division of assets will be done as per the intestate succession, in which the authorities will establish the right to inheritance based on the order of proximity of the heirs to the testator and as per the provisions of the law.
Selling inherited property in Greece
Once a person becomes the legal owner of a property, the person has full decision rights on what to do and how to use the respective property. The same applies when a person will buy a property in Greece. However, selling inherited property in Greece can be done only after all the legal matters concerning the inheritance are settled.
By this, we refer to the fact that the heir must accept the property, must pay the required tax and must complete all the paperwork that will testify that he/she is the new owner of the respective asset. Our lawyers in Greece can offer more details on the steps that must be followed once accepting an inheritance.
You can also rely on us if you want to know more about Greek forced inheritance, which refers to the fact that the Greek law forbids a testator from completely disinherit a legal heir without any clear reason that falls under the limits of the law (it includes children, parents and spouse).
What is the inheritance tax in Greece?
Please mind that if you are the heir of a testator in Greece, depending on the family degree and the value of the inheritance, you will be required to pay an inheritance tax.
Tax exemptions are also possible. However, it is necessary to know that where the assets represent properties (real estate), there is an obligation to pay an inheritance tax as per the rules of the Law 2961/2001. The amount due is calculated based on who the testator is in relation to the heirs and who are the heirs.
The inheritance tax does not apply to movable property when the testator is a Greek national who has been living to a foreign country for at least 10 years.
Thus, the tax rates for inheritance can be charged at rates of 1%, 5% and 10% to the spouse, children, grandchildren and the parents of the testator where the value of the property is of above EUR 150,000 (and maximum EUR 300,000), above EUR 300,001 (and max 600,000) and above EUR 600,000 respectively.
Where the value of the property is of maximum EUR 150,000, the inheritance tax does not apply. A tax exemption applies where the transfer has a value of maximum EUR 30,000 and it involves siblings. For more details on wills, inheritance law and the procedure of contesting a will in Greece, we invite you to contact our Greek lawyers.
Our lawyers can present the formalities on inheriting land or what are the provisions a testator can include in a will concerning this matter. Of course, our lawyers can assist locals and foreigners who want to buy land in Greece. Non-EU nationals are required to complete certain immigration formalities before arriving here (such as applying for visas and other permits).