Update on Inheritance Laws in Greece

By Christos Iliopoulos, Esq.

The inheritance tax in Greece for the immediate family members is relatively low. For the spouse, the children, the grandchildren and the parents of the deceased, the tax – free initial amount is 150,000 euros for each of them. This means that each of these persons can inherit up to 150,000 euros worth of inheritance share and not pay inheritance tax at all, provided the deceased has died from 2010 and on and the inheritance tax declaration is filed within six months from the passing. For an inheritance share above 150,000 euros and up to 300,000 euros, the inheritance tax is only one percent (1%), meaning only 1,500 euros for a share worth 300,000 euros.

If the deceased died outside of Greece, or their heir lives outside of Greece, the time limit to file the inheritance tax declaration is twelve months from the passing. If there is a Will left by the deceased, the time limits of six or twelve months to file the inheritance tax declaration start from the probation of the Will and not from the date of the passing. If the Will is executed outside of Greece, it must be probated at the country where it was executed and then it will also be probated in Greece, where it must be applied, if there are assets of the estate in Greece. In that case, the time limits to file the acceptance of inheritance start from the probation of the Will outside of Greece and not from the subsequent probation of the same Will in Greece.

The tax – free amount of 150,000 euros for the above close of kin may be reduced the next months, since the lowering of the tax – free inheritance tax amount is an obligation of the Greek state towards its creditors, within the context of raising the taxes to collect revenue to pay Greece’s debts. Any person, therefore, who is entitled to a share of an inheritance in Greece must bear in mind that the tax – free amounts for the heirs may be lowered soon. Thus, to avoid paying higher inheritance taxes or to avoid paying inheritance taxes at all, it may be wise to file now all paperwork to the tax office, the notary, the court, the municipality and to other Greek authorities, in order to take the inheritance share now and not later on.

The main document which is required is the death certificate, which if from abroad, must be officially translated in Greek and have either the Apostille stamp or the stamp of the Consulate of Greece in the foreign country, depending on the laws of that country. We will also need a copy of the passport of the heir(s), a power of attorney (POA) to be signed either at the Greek Consulate, or at a local notary in the foreign country with Apostille or at a notary public in Greece, and the close of kin certificate from the Municipality of birth in Greece, of the person who is deceased. To this end, it may be needed to register in Greece the marriage certificate of the deceased, if the marriage took place outside of Greece, as well as the birth of his/her children.

The jurist who will organize the settlement of the estate in Greece, who is usually a lawyer, must have the list of assets of the deceased in Greece, and their description, in order to start the process of their evaluation for tax purposes. We must also check whether the deceased had declared the assets properly to the Greek tax office and whether these assets today need a more accurate description in the way of a modern survey map created by a civil engineer.

*Ο Χρήστος Ηλιόπουλος είναι Δικηγόρος παρ’ Αρείω Πάγω, Master of Laws. www.greekadvocate.eu [email protected]