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October 23, 2023

How to Accept an Inheritance in Greece

How to Accept an Inheritance in Greece

Dealing with Greek legal matters as a Greek-American can be an arduous journey that can take years. However, that does not mean it is impossible to handle these complex matters efficiently and properly.

One of the most commonly dealt with ‘Greek affair matters’ in the United States has been how to accept and claim one’s inheritance in Greece when a family member has unfortunately passed and named a Greek-American as their heir. The deceased’s estate, either by the terms of a will or by law, now belongs to the heir, and if the deceased has property located in Greece or if the deceased had residence in Greece, the provisions of Greek Inheritance law will apply.

Here are the initial steps that need to be followed for non-Greek residents:

1. Declaration of death at the Registry Department of the competent Tax Authorities. This declaration is submitted by a Next of Kin or a duly authorized attorney.

The documents to be submitted are:

  • The Death Certificate – if issued abroad – with apostille stamp and certified by lawyer translation and
  • M7 Form, with personal information of applicant and the applicant’s relation to the deceased.

2. In case of a will under another legal system

  • Probation of will before the competent (U.S.) Court
  • Court decision must receive an apostille stamp and certified translation by a Greek lawyer
  • The above document must be filed in Greek Court for recognition by Greek legal system

3. Payment of the Property Tax (ENFIA) for last five or six years and Inheritance tax declaration, a prerequisite for signature of the act of acceptance of inheritance

  • The Inheritance tax declaration should be filed with the competent tax authorities within a twelve-month period from the date of death when the heir is a foreign resident.

4. Signature of Notarial act of Acceptance of Inheritance before the Greek Notary Public

5. Transcript of inheritance acceptance at Land Registry

FAQ: 

What documents do I need for signature of a Notarial act of acceptance of inheritance?

You need: Power of Attorney signed before Notary Public or the Greek Consulate for foreign residents; Valid American passport; Death Certificate.

In case the inheritance consists of real estate assets: Property titles; Topographical map; Building Permits; Property Tax (ENFIA) certificate from the tax office for the last 5 years

How to disclaim an inheritance?

The right to disclaim an Inheritance expires after 4 months from the date of death for Greek residents and after 12 months from the date of death for foreign residents.

Is there a legal deadline to accept an inheritance?

Legally, there is no deadline for the acceptance of the inheritance with a notarial document and its transcription at the relevant land registry, which can be done at any time. However, for tax purposes, a six-month deadline, which is extended to a twelve-month deadline for foreign residents, is set for submitting an Inheritance tax declaration with the competent tax authorities.

What happens if one does not proceed with signature of a Notarial act of acceptance of inheritance within the deadlines provided by law?

In the case one does not proceed with signature of a Notarial act of acceptance of inheritance, the expiration of the four-month (or twelve-month for foreign residents) deadline for inheritance disclaimer, results in the tacit acceptance of the inheritance. Therefore, the heir is still required to submit the E9 form (tax declaration) for the properties tacitly acquired from the inheritance.

If you have any questions regarding the Acceptance of Inheritance in Greece or any other Greek legal matters, feel free to reach out to us at info@pnlawyers.com or give us a call: 212-213-8511.

PN Lawyers proudly handles Greek legal matters and has offices in New York, New Jersey, and Athens, Greece, to help you fully manage your Greek legal matters in a most effective and stress-free way.

Sophia-Elena Mystakidi, Athens Lawyer, Of Counsel to PN Lawyers.

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