After the parent’s passing, the spouse and/or children are usually called as heirs to “accept” the real estate property inheritance (“apodohi klironomias”) and have it conveyed under their names. They do not inherit “automatically”. This procedure entails substantial documentation and actions. So, the issues that need to addressed, usually include the following:
1. Is there a Will? If it is an Australian Will, has this been probated before the Australian Courts? If yes (or if it is a Greek Will), has it been further registered with the Greek Authorities?
2. If the parent passed in Australia, do I have the original Death Certificate (DC) from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry? Have I procured the official “Apostile” seal on it from the Department of Foreign Affairs? Has this DC been officially translated into Greek (e.g. by a Greek lawyer)?
3. Has this “apostiled” and translated DC, been properly registered at the Athens Special Registry?
4. Have I procured a certificate regarding the closest relatives of the deceased from the Greek municipality where his family lot is kept? If not (e.g. when the deceased’s marriage and birth of his children have not been recorded), has a relevant Sworn Affidavit been properly prepared and notarized certifying the above?
5. Do I have the Titles (“simvolea”) and its Certificates of Registration from the Titles Office of the property through which my parent acquired the property (e.g. Inheritance, Purchase, Dowry, Gift, etc)? Has this property been properly declared at the New Land Registry Cadastral (“Ktimatologio”) when required? If there is land involved do I have a topographic diagram of the property effected with the National Coordinates System (G.P.S.), or other?
6. Do I (and other family heirs) have a Greek Tax File Number (“Arithmos Forologikou Mitroou” or A.Φ.Μ.) in Greece? If not, do I have a trustworthy (and preferably English spoken and computer savvy) tax agent in Greece, who can take care of this procedure and other inherent tax work?
7. Do I have from the Greek Courts the relevant certificate that there is no (other) probated Will of the deceased?
8. Has the deceased paid the Land Tax (“ENFIA”) for the inherited property for the last 5 years? If the deceased passed, say 3 years ago, have I (and the other heirs) paid the Land Tax (“ENFIA”) for the inherited property for the last 3 years? If not – in either case – has the tax accountant rectified this retroactively and procured the relevant certificate(s) from the tax Authority?
9. Has the Inheritance Tax Statement been drafted and filed properly?
10. Has the Acceptance of Inheritance Deed been properly drafted, executed before the Public Notary, summarized and registered with the relevant Land Registry and/or Land Registry Cadastral (“Ypothikofilakion or Ktimatologio”)? Do I have the relevant Certificates?
11. Have the property been deleted before the Tax Authority from my parent’s name and been recorded under my name?
12. If I cannot physically go to Greece and stay there for a considerable time period, do I have somebody that I trust 100 per cent to whom I can give Power of Attorney to pursue what needs to be done there (e.g. a specialised lawyer)?
If the answer to one or more of the above “questions” is negative, you should get professional advice from your lawyer the earliest, due to existing deadlines.
Mr John Tripidakis is an Australian registered foreign (Greek) lawyer, entitled to practice foreign (Greek) law only (www.greeklawyers.com.au)