Under Greek law, wills may be either handwritten or drafted before a Notary Public. If a will is not found, the law regulates the inheritance succession under intestacy as follows:
- Husband/wife and children
- Husband/wife, parents and brothers/sisters
- Husband/wife, grandparents, their children and grandchildren
- Husband/wife and great-grandparents
- The State
Children, parents and husband/wife cannot be excluded completely from their inheritance rights by virtue of a Will (“forced share” right holders), except in very specific circumstances (for example, if they threatened the life of the deceased).
When the inheritance includes real estate, then the beneficiary must formally “accept” the Estate through a Deed drafted and executed before a Public Notary. The same Deed must then be registered before the local Land Registry of the property’s location under the name of the beneficiary.
The beneficiaries, (under intestacy or by virtue of a Will), must file an inheritance tax statement within 6 months if they live in Greece, or within 12 months if they live abroad. The deadline is determined from the date of death or, should there be a will, from the date of the probation of the Will.
For the assessment of inheritance tax, the beneficiaries are categorized according to the relation that connects them with the deceased. For each category a different progressive tax scale applies, rising from 5% up to 40%. Also a tax free amount, which is higher for closer relatives, applies for each category. For example if a flat valued at $100,000 is inherited by the only child of the deceased and that child lives in Greece and does not have any other residence, the beneficiary is not obliged to pay any inheritance tax at all.
If the inheritance includes real estate and is inherited by more than one beneficiary, it can be divided among them as it is, or, if that is not possible, it can be sold upon a court’s judgment. The proceeds of the sale will be distributed between the beneficiaries in proportion to their shares. Inheritance tax can be minimized through utilization of the provisions of inheritance law.