Wills in Greece

If you are a UK citizen or UK resident, making a Greek Will for property in Greece is usually the smart choice. Benefits include ensuring the right people inherit from your estate, potentially reducing your estate’s inheritance tax burden and making the process of administering your estate simpler and less costly for your heirs.

For people who have assets in the UK and Greece, it is normally advised to make both a Greek Will and a UK Will. This allows you to account for the differences between the two countries’ laws in your estate planning and avoid potential issues, such as your Wills unintentionally revoking or interfering with the other.

Getting expert advice on making a Greek Will can give you peace of mind that all of the legal details are taken care of and that there will not be any nasty surprises for your loved ones when you are gone.

Judicare is a leading international property law firm providing clients with specialist global legal advice related to property and land overseas. As well as assisting with buying and selling property in Greece, we also assist with Greek inheritance planning.

Our Greek Will lawyers can assist with all aspects of Wills in Greece and Greek inheritance planning, including:

  • Making a Greek Will
  • Advice on the effect of your existing Will
  • Greek inheritance tax planning (to minimise the tax burden on your estate)
  • Advice for beneficiaries

We are headquartered in the UK, meaning we offer the security of dealing with UK-regulated and insured solicitors, combined with comprehensive knowledge of Greek inheritance rules.

For specific advice on making a Greek Will tailored to your needs or dealing with any other aspect of Greek inheritance law, please get in touch with our friendly, expert Greek Will legal experts in the UK.

Call: 01438 840 258                    Email: admin@judicaregroup.com

[faq]

Three key reasons to make a Greek Will for property and other assets in Greece.

There are a number of important reasons why it will likely be to your benefit to make a Greek Will for any assets you own in Italy:

Estate administration is simpler with a Greek Will

By making a Greek Will, you are making life much easier for the Greek authorities as they will understand this type of Will, how it works and exactly how to deal with it. This will therefore make the whole process much less complicated for your heirs. This will also remove the need for additional steps, such as having a UK Will translated into Greek, which would otherwise be required and then have to  either publish it  in the Greek  court  or register  it.

Inheritance costs will be lower

Making the inheritance process simpler will generally mean that it costs less as there should be fewer stages and people involved, reducing the number of fees that will need to be paid. This is especially true when it comes to the cost of translating a UK Will into Greek, which normally costs more than just making a Greek Will in the first place.

It will make estate administration faster

Using a Greek Will means your heirs normally won’t have to wait for the UK probate to take place before dealing with your assets in Greece.

You can plan more effectively for inheritance tax.

Making a Greek Will allows you to plan your estate to account for Greek inheritance tax rules, so can make it much more tax efficient. This is because Greek inheritance tax rules are quite different to those in the UK, with the rates of inheritance tax due on an estate depending on who the beneficiary is.

Spouses, children, and parents of the deceased pay a much lower inheritance tax rate than non-relatives, while other close relatives also get a slightly reduced rate. It can therefore be sensible to factor this in when planning your estate to minimise its inheritance tax burden. In Greece when the inheritance of the beneficiary (spouses, children and parents) is less than 300.000 euros for the husband and wife and less  than 150.000 euros for children and grandchildren it is non-taxable.

How we can help with Greek Wills and inheritance

Making a Greek Will

If you have property or other assets in Greece, it is strongly recommended to make a Greek Will in addition to your UK Will.

There are two types of Greek Wills:

Greek Public Will

The advantage of a Public Will is that it will be drafted with the assistance of a Greek Notary Public and kept by the Greek Notary Public and by a Greek Notarial Public Archive, and therefore easily accessible to the heirs.

The Will needs to be signed before a Notary Public in Greece in the Greek language with a translation into English and in the presence of an official interpreter and three witnesses, or in the presence of a second Notary Public and one witness. Our assistance includes preparing a simple Will, translating it into English, liaising with the Notary Public, assisting you at the signing of the Will and providing an official interpreter and English-speaking witness at the signing.

Please note that a Will cannot be signed by means of a Power of Attorney but only personally.

Greek “Private” Will

This is a simple document handwritten, signed, and dated by the testator. This does not need to be witnessed but should be checked by a lawyer.

This Will can be kept:

  1. by the testator e.g., in his/her house
  2. B) by a Notary Public by means of a “deposit deed”.

Secret Will

It is the handwritten Will, given by the testator to the Notary Public in the presence of three witnesses or in the presence of a second Notary Public and one witness where the testator declares that this is his testament.

Our Greek inheritance lawyers can help you with creating a valid Greek Will that meets your requirements. We can also advise on how this may interact with your UK Will, so you fully understand everything that should happen with your estate when the time comes.

Advice on the effect of your existing Greek Will and/or UK Will

Should you already have a Will, whether in the UK, Greece, or both, we can review these for you to make sure your wishes are properly reflected and that you fully understand all of the potential effects on your estate.

Our Greek Will lawyers can also advise you on the interaction between different Wills (i.e., a UK Will and Greek Will) and whether a new Will or Wills may be required.

Greek inheritance tax planning

Greek inheritance tax rules are different to those in the UK, so anyone who owns Greek property will need to take these rules into account when planning their estate if they wish to ensure their heirs receive the maximum possible benefit from their estate.

While inheritance tax on Greek property needs to be paid in Greece, these assets must also be declared in the UK. Fortunately, Double Taxation Laws mean any inheritance tax paid in Greece can be offset against your UK inheritance tax liabilities for those assets.

Our Greek inheritance lawyers can talk you through exactly how inheritance tax rules in Greece and the UK will apply to your estate. We can then help you make the right decisions to ensure your estate is as tax efficient as possible.

Dealing with Greek intestacy rules

Where someone who owned property in Greece dies without leaving a Will, their estate will be dealt with under the UK law, in otherwards the law of the deceased.

Failing to make a Greek Will, means that the authorities in Greece do not know the English law that applies and the whole procedure becomes time consuming since they demand from certain institutes in Greece the law of the certain country and again it is for them confusing.

Advice for beneficiaries of estates containing Greek property.

If you have inherited or are due to inherit a property in Greece, we can advise you on exactly what you need to do.

Should you have a concern about how you have been treated under a Greek Will, a UK Will covering Greek property or your inheritance rights under the Greek law, we can advise on your options. We can also advise on responding to an inheritance dispute over Greek property.

Why choose Judicare for advice about Greek Wills?

We can handle both your UK Will and Greek Will expertly

Our Greek Will lawyers are skilled in both UK and Greek inheritance laws. This means you only have to instruct one lawyer for your Greek Will needs and we can help you create Wills in both the UK and Greece to account for every part of your estate.

Plain English advice

We speak English – when it comes to Wills and inheritance advice you should never take the chance of instructing a lawyer who does not speak fluent English. As we are based in the UK, we speak English as our primary language, with no unnecessary legal jargon.

UK-regulated solicitors. Real peace of mind.

As a UK law firm, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means you can be confident we will adhere to the strict standards expected of UK lawyers.

Even more reassuring, we are required to carry professional indemnity insurance to cover claims up to £3 million, which is much higher than the level of indemnity insurance required for lawyers in many foreign jurisdictions.

Complete understanding of how Greek inheritance laws and UK inheritance laws interact.

One of our key selling points is that we understand the laws in multiple jurisdictions (including Greece) and regularly advise clients on how those laws interact with UK law. As such, we can provide clear, seasoned expertise on situations other law firms likely will not have the experience to handle effectively.

AIPP membership

Property is one of the most common assets people have in their Will, so working with a law firm with strong international property expertise is usually a good idea when dealing with Italian inheritance. This is one area where Judicare particularly excels.

We are a member of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP), which was set up to improve standards of professionalism in a largely unregulated overseas property market. As AIPP members, we have signed up to a Code of Conduct that assures we adhere to the highest standards of honesty and professional integrity.

Decades of collective experience in Greek inheritance law

Our Greek inheritance lawyers have many years of experience dealing with all aspects of Greek Wills and cross-border inheritance planning. This means we know all of the issues you need to consider, exactly what needs to be done and all of the common problems you can run into (and the not so common ones).

Drawing on our collective experience, we can help you to plan effectively and make sure every stage of your Greek inheritance planning goes ahead as smoothly as possible.

Need expert help with a Greek Will?

Looking for a highly experienced, trustworthy, and reliable team of Greek Will experts in the UK?

Need expert guidance and plain English advice on making, varying, understanding, or executing a Greek Will?

Want peace of mind that everything has been properly taken care of?

Then get in touch with the team at Judicare today!

Call: 01438 840 258                    Email: admin@judicaregroup.com

 

Common questions about Greek Wills

Are the inheritance rules in Greece the same as the UK?

No, Greece has completely different inheritance laws and it is important to understand these and how they interact with UK inheritance laws if you own property or other assets in Greece but are a UK citizen or resident.

The way you leave assets in Greece, the process for administering an estate, the costs involved, and other issues all differ from how things work in the UK. Failing to understand this can lead to additional legal costs, a higher inheritance tax burden and a slower, more stressful probate process for your loved ones.

Working with a legal expert who understands both Greek and UK law can make life much easier for you and your heirs, ensuring your estate is handled in the way you would intend, while keeping the costs and potential complications to a minimum.

Do I have to make a Will for my Greek property?

Technically, no. If you do not have a Will covering your Greek property, then that property Will be dealt with under UK intestacy laws. But the problem is that the authorities here are an aware of the English law and there is a risk sometimes applying the Greek law.  

However, this can mean that your property will go to someone you may not have intended. It will also likely make the process of administering your estate more complicated, time consuming and expensive for your heirs.

Can I just leave my assets in Greece in my UK Will?

Yes, Greek law does recognise Wills made abroad, however this is normally not the best way of dealing with your Greek property and other assets for a number of reasons.

Potential issues with using a UK Will for Greek assets include:

Unnecessarily increase the legal costs involved in dealing with your estate.
Leaving your estate less tax-efficient
The added cost of your UK Will needing to be translated into Greek for the Greek authorities when the time comes to administer your estate (this cost is often more than that of making a separate Greek Will)
Slowing down the probate process
Delaying payment of inheritance tax leading to a late payment fine and interest being added to the amount owed
It may be necessary to draft a Declaration of Law which confirms to the authorities in Greece that the UK Will is valid in the UK and also who the beneficiaries are.
Greek authorities will not be used to dealing with UK Wills, which can further add to the amount of time, effort and cost involved in untangling any confusion that arises

For all of these reasons, making a separate Greek Will for property and other assets in Greece is almost always the best choice.

Can I have a UK Will and a Greek Will?

Yes, you can have two Wills with one covering your UK assets and the other covering your Greek assets. This is often the best approach if you have assets in both countries, but it is important to make sure both Wills are carefully drafted so as to work together effectively and not cause unintended conflicts or other problems.

For example, if one or both of your Wills are drafted incorrectly, one of them could revoke the other, causing problems for your heirs. It is therefore strongly advised to work with an inheritance lawyer who is experienced in these situations.