Our daughter, Despina Siolas, MD/PhD and her hu8sband, Laurentino Ibarra, went to the heart of the Peloponnese, Arcadia and Mani during Easter 2015. Laurentino came back in love with the mountains of Arcadia, with an intense desire to return. His enthusiasm inspired us reexamine our land ownership in a small village outside Levithi, Arcadia called Paleopyrgo.
In 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%.1
My father gave up his landownership in Panagia, Limnos in 1956 to cousins. My mother’s family was refugees from Tseme and Katopanagia. They did not have deeds to their homes. They were lucky to escape with their lives in 1914 and 1922. Our daughter’s wanted to remember her father, Dr. John Siolas and grandparents Konstantina and George Siolas. We decided to transfer title of her father’s vacant land to her, while he is still living.
This led us on an amazing journey. They bought us tickets to Greece in May. All this happened during the Eurozone crisis. Obviously, the negative publicity did not affect our daughter and her husband. I expected a catastrophe with the banking system. I came with cash to negotiate all business transactions.
I have had experience with vacant land, subdivision of farm land, surveyors and their maps and the ordinances of local governments through my experience as an Associate Broker at Andrew Stype Real Estate in Mattituck, New York. Now I was faced with a new challenge: change of property ownership to our child in a country about to leave the Eurozone in June 2015. We had two weeks in Greece.
Professionals began working seven days a week to create a new Greek image. Hara Anagnostopoulou and her associate Sophia Ant. Paidaraki are fluent in English. Articulate, brilliant lawyers are helping Greece emerge out of this economic crisis. They aided us in obtaining power of attorney for Dr. John Siolas. We went to Maria Mpoya, an Athenian notary who has unique art works adorning her office walls. Ms. Anagnostopoulou acted quickly to get a tax number for our daughter Despina.
“We must get a surveyor’s map, a notary and tax information from the Taxation Office in Tripoli,” said attorney Anagnostopoulou. Both attorneys left Athens immediately, with us and our 5 pieces of luggage for Tripoli in the Moreas Motorway. We entered the Tripoli Building Department and were told a startling fact: the Greek government will not recognize our marriage of thirty six years, because it is written in English. Our daughter Despina is not legitimate, unless her birth certificate is translated into Greek. We were contacting the United States immediately for Greek translations. Attorneys Anagnostopoulou and Ms. Paidaraki, were cool, aggressive and effective as Athenian attorneys who knew their business. A trailer on My Big Fat Greek Wedding sequel hints on this problem.2
From here on, our Tripoli family aided in gaining the exact specification and title of the land. Dr. Spiro Vardouniotis, Dr. Siolas’ koumbaro, and his godson, Dr. Alexios Vardouniotis, Physician Surgeon Otolaryngologist, helped us solve our title problems. Dr. Alexios, as we call the Physician Surgeon Otolaryngologist, had an emergency meeting with our two Athenian attorneys. “We have two outstanding professionals, Haris Chronopoulos, Tripoli engineer,and
Basilios D. Artopoulos, Notary who will work with us to secure surveyor maps, title and notary papers. Within a week we had a basic overview of surveyor maps, power of attorney documents. Dr. Alexios explained “in two weeks, you were able to get a year’s work completed.” Dr. Alexios and his friends engineer Hari and notary Basilios made this land transfer happen. The intense loyalty his parents Maria and Dr. Spiro Vardouniotis have for us is unique.
It was discovered that our joint parcel of land was being farmed by a resident of the village. Attorney Ms. Anagnostopoulou sent him an official letter stating he must stop all agricultural cultivation, in order to protect our land title. I am amazed by Engineer Haris Chronopoulos technology in assessing the exact map specification of Dr. John Siolas’ two properties.
Dr. Siolas knowledge of his land was totally wrong. Attorney Anagnostopoulou wrote to us the following: With the old E9, Mr Siolas had declared the oikopedo ( 100% his property) in Paleopyrgos 90 square meters. I changed it as the engineer’s topographic plan says it is 112,55 (about ¼ acre). In the old E9 Mr Siolas had declared 11 agrotemahia ( 50% , the rest 50% belongs to his brother). According to the engineer they are not 11 , he found only 6 , he said that the rest can not be found and he prepared one topographic plan including the six he measured united in two agrotemahia and the final surface is for the first 10.188 square meters (109 feet) and the second 5.430 square meters (58 feet), so I did the relevant correction.
Dr. Siolas owns about 541/2 feet of one undeveloped farm land and 29 feet of the second farm land lot. The other 50% belongs to his brother, Panagiotis Siolas. The land transfer was finalized nto Dr. Despina Siolas’ name the end of October 2015, in five months.
The two undeveloped farm lots shared with Dr. Siolas’ brother and his heirs has sentimental, not monetary value. It has an old farm cottage where their parents raised four children, fondly named the “Karydies” or walnut trees. Someday, Dr. Despina can show her children and grandchildren where the family came from in Arcadia, Greece. The second quarter of an acre of land is only in Dr. Despina’s name in the village of Paleopyrgo. She can build a house in the future. This is her father and grandparents gift to her: knowing her past history and culture. I was not lucky to know roots.
This is the new professional image of 2015 Greece. Paul, an educator/ Tripoli taxi cab driver summarizes my viewpoint. “We must hold on to all land given,” he said. “It cannot be replaced. Money has no value.” In Greece 2015, only land is a sure thing.
Photo1- Dr. John Siolas in front of ancestral farm house
Photo2- Google map of two agricultural lots
Photo3- vacant land lot in village of Palaipyrgos
Photo4- His Godson, Dr. Alexios Vardouniotis, Physician Surgeon Otolaryngologist, who helped him in land transfer to his child, Despina.
Marina Mpoya, Notary, Omirou44-46, first floor, Athens, Greece, tel. 210 36 16 522
Hara Anagnostopoulou & Associates Law Office, 93 Ippokratous Street, 6th floor, Athens, mobile: 6936 055 038, email, [email protected]\ and Sofia Ant. Paidaraki tel: 210 36 25453, e-mail [email protected].
Basilios D. Artopoulos, Notary, 25 Deligianni St. Tripolis, tel: 2710 234 734, email [email protected]