A person may decide the future of his/her property by leaving a will, which can be entirely handwritten by him/her personally, or executed before a public notary under the presence of witnesses. The law also provides for a third kind of will, called a secret will, where the testator hands the will to the notary public, and the latter is obliged to seal it and keep it until the testator’s demise.
Before deciding to leave a will, the testator should contact a lawyer, in order to be advised of the provisions of the Greek Law. The notary public or any person, who has access to a deceased person’s handwritten will, is obliged to notify the Court about the existence of the will and submit it in original. The Greek Probate Court is obliged to make it public, so that every person having an interest in its contents can access it. If the deceased has not left a will of any kind, or if the will is void for any reason or if it settles only a part of its property, this case is considered to be of intestacy, the wealth automatically passes to the next of kin and it is regulated by provisions of the law.
Inheritance tax is imposed on each beneficiary, and the rate is determined by the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiary and the value of the property received. An inheritance tax declaration should be submitted by the beneficiary or their legal representative within six months from the date of death or from the date of the will’s probation. However, this period is one year from the date of probation if the beneficiaries reside abroad.The inheritance tax differs according to the degree of relationship between the deceased and the heir. For example, a surviving spouse and children pay less inheritance tax than brothers and sisters of the deceased.Foreign citizens are subject to the same tax rates as Greek citizens.
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