Inheritance Law

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Depending on the type of will (e.g. public, private, secret) our Civil Code defines the cases, which result in the invalidity of the will due to non-observance of its legal form. In addition, a will can be challenged due to its content (e.g. opposition to good morals, deception – fraud – threat to the deceased, etc.), due to forgery, due to the incapacity of the testator to draw it up or due to the omission of a legal shareholder.

Legal share is the legal minimum inheritance share that should be received by the parents of the deceased, his/her spouse or surviving partner from the cohabitation agreement and his/her descendants (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.). The right to legal succession depends on which relatives of the above are alive at the time of death (for example, parents are not entitled to legal succession if the deceased’s children are living, or his grandchildren are excluded if his children are living, etc.) and is calculated at half of the intestate portion.

Yes, the parental allowance is counted in the legal inheritance and in fact with the value it had when it was given, unless the heir specified otherwise when he gave the allowance.

Any donation made by the deceased during his lifetime (whether to a legal sharer or to any third party during the last 10 years of his life, unless he made it out of propriety or special duty) may be reversed, provided that the inherited property existing at the time of his of his death, is not sufficient to cover the legal fate of any shareholder. Reversal can be done through an involuntary donation action.

A certificate of inheritance is the certificate issued by a court decision at the request of the heir and confirms his right to inherit and the portion attributable to him.

In the absence of a will, the property is distributed to the heirs according to their type of relationship with the deceased, based on which relatives are divided by law into classes (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th class) and inherit according to who are present at the time of death. So, for example, 1st degree relatives exclude 2nd degree relatives and so on.

The deadline for renouncing the inheritance is 4 months, if the deceased lived in Greece and 1 year, if his last residence was abroad or if the heir lived abroad, when he learned of the death of the heir and of the fact that the himself is called as an heir (whether with or without a will). Knowledge of these last incidents also marks the start of the waiver period. Of course, the law also provides for cases of suspension of the waiver period (e.g. due to force majeure).

The waiver is made by declaration to the clerk of the probate court. A special power of attorney with a notarized document is required for a waiver made with a representative.

If the renunciation deadline is missed, then the law stipulates that this omission is equivalent to acceptance of the inheritance (fictitious acceptance). Although the acceptance of the inheritance is, as a rule, irrevocable, it is possible to annul it through a lawsuit, due to the mistake, fraud or threat of the heir (for example, when the heir was ignorant of the existence of a period of renunciation or was mistaken about the importance of the impracticable lapse of the inheritance ).

The minor, according to the decision No. 371/2014 of the Council of State, can disclaim up to one (1) year after reaching the age of majority, even if the 4-month period has passed since the testator’s death.

The heir who accepts the inheritance with the benefit of the inventory is responsible for the obligations of the inheritance up to its assets. His personal property is separated from the hereditary property. Therefore, the heir accepted with the benefit of the inventory is not liable for the debts of the latter with his personal property.

The testator can by will disinherit his/her children and spouse, i.e. deprive them of the legal fate provided for them by law, only for the following reasons:

A. As for his child, if he: 1. sought the life of the testator, his spouse or another descendant of the testator, 2. intentionally caused bodily harm to the testator or his spouse, from whom the deceased descends, 3. became guilty of a felony or serious misdemeanor with intent, against the testator or his spouse, 4. maliciously breached the obligation he had by law to support the testator, 5. lives a dishonorable or immoral life, against the will of the testator. The disclaimer for this reason is invalid, if the testator at the time of the testator’s death had definitively abandoned the dishonorable or immoral life.

B. As for the spouse, if at the time of death he/she had the right to file a divorce action for a valid reason based on the fault of his/her spouse.

According to article 1871 of the Civil Code, the heir has the right to demand from the person who retains objects of the inheritance as an heir (lawyer of the inheritance) the recognition of the inheritance right and the return of the inheritance or any object from it, by bringing the “lawsuit for lot” within 20 years from the time the possession of the thing took place.

In this case, a declaratory action for annulment can be brought, with a request to judicially recognize that the transfer is invalid because it was made by a non-owner. Article 1033 of the Civil Code requires that for the transfer of real estate to be valid, the transferor must own it, unless he had previously issued a deed of inheritance.