This creates an enormous demand for information with regard to the Greek inheritance law, since most of those who claim property in Greece, are not familiar with the relevant provisions of the Greek Civil Code. Immovable property in Greece, is governed by the Greek Civil Law.
Therefore, even if the decedent was not a Greek and even if he/she left a will written under a foreign law, dealing also with property outside Greece, all inheritance and tax claims regarding immovable property (plots, lands, houses, apartments, buildings etc), that are located in Greece, will be decided according to the Greek Law provisions.
The beneficiary can sign a specific power of attorney “about the acceptance of his/her inheritance, at the Greek Consulate in the country of his/her residence, or at a Notary’s office (with Apostille) and encharge an attorney at law or a trusted relative in Greece, to sign all the documents necessary due to the Greek authorities, as for the transfer of property by the deceased to the heir (who lives abroad).
If there is no will, it is needed an official declaration of two witnesses as for the closest relatives of the deceased. This declaration of two witnesses, may be signed either at the Consulate or in Greece.
If the deceased left a will, it is needed the publication of the will of First Instance in Greece.
If the will was written on the abroad country, it is first needed a publication of it, done at the abroad authorities , secondly the official translation, finally the inclusion in the Hellenic Court of First Instance (in Greece).
The translation of wills and other legal documents should be very attentive as about the legal terms of the law used by the abroad country, in order to avoid misinterpretations by the Greek authorities (eg Inland Revenue, Court, Notary) compared with the foreign law terms.
The heir who lives abroad, should either has in his/her hands copies of the property or bank accounts that owned the deceased, or at least knows where the property is (or what are the any bank accounts in Greece).
If the heir does not keep the contracts, but knows the location about his/her property, then a lawyer in Greece should check for the existence of contracts at the local Land Registry office, or in the National Cadastre, registered by the name of the deceased or (very often) by the names of the whole family.
If in the property is included and cottage-townhouses, plots or parcels, then it is needed for each of them a site plan (diagram from a civil engineer) and it is absolutely necessary for a relative or a neighbor at least to indicate the property’s exact location. Often, the heirs as living abroad, do not know where are located their properties that have inherited.
If later, the heir decides to sell his/her inheritance, then the site plan is necessary for all any existed buildings (are excluded the apartments).
In case of sale, the specific power of attorney “about the acceptance of the inheritance”, will have to include a “sale order”, otherwise it must be done a new specific power of attorney.
The inheritance tax, is not an obstacle for the heir to receive his/her share, because the tax is either not there (untaxed inheritances), or it is very small compared to the value of the inheritance received by the heir.
The search thus of the inheritance, which many Greeks first, second or third generation are entitled in Greece, as also the acquisition of the Greek nationality, (by ie the European passport that allows them to permanently reside, study, work, establish businesses and have the same rights as the citizens of all the European countries) are respected incentives for our expatriates, even if were born abroad, to visit their homeland Greece.
The full article in : www.greekmediator.com/en