Greek Inheritance Law

The Greek Inheritance Law is regulated by the Greek Civil Code.

A deceased person can decide what will become of his property by leaving a will, which can be entirely handwritten by him/her personally, or executed before a public notary under the presence of three witnesses or  The law provides also for a third kind of will, called a secret will, where the testator hands the will to the notary public, and the latter is obliged to seal and keep it until the testator’s demise.

Before deciding to prepare a will, the testator should contact a lawyer, in order to be adviced of the provisions of the Greek Law. 

The public notary or any person who has access to a deceased person’s handwritten will, is obliged to notify the Court about the existence of the will and submit it in original. The Greek Probate Court is obliged to make it public, so that every person having an interest in its contents can have access to it.

If the deceased has not left a will of any kind, or the will is void for any reason or settles only a part of its property, this person is considered to be in intestacy, and its succession is regulated by provisions of the law. The legal heirs are organized by the law in 6 categories, called “classes”.

1.   Husband/wife and children
2.   Husband/wife, parents and brothers/sisters
3.   Husband/wife, grandparents, their children and grandchildren
4.   Husband/wife and great-grandparents
5.   Husband/wife
6.   The State


If the deceased did not have a spouse or another relative of the previous classes at the time of death, then the property goes to the Greek State.

It is worth mentioning that in case a will does not leave a share in the property to either the spouse, the children or the parents of the decedent, then these relatives have a right by law to claim a minimum share in the inheritance, which equals half of the inheritance share in case of intestacy. If the deceased had made any donation to each of the above heirs while living, the right to a minimum share can be lost, if the donation cover their minimum share.

Greek Inheritance Law provides to the heir a deadline of 4 monhts period, starting from the knowledge of the passing of the decised, to declare if he/she accepts the legacy. This deadline is 1 year, if either the decedent had his domicile abroad, or the heir has its domicile abroad . It is thus very important to renounce the inheritance within the  above mentioned deadline, since the heir could bear significant risks, if the inheritance contained debts or other obligations of the deceased person.