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By Anastasia C. Miliou, Court of Appeals Lawyer*

There are many people of Greek descent all over the world who’s their parents or other close relatives had properties in Greece.

These properties are inherited according to Greek Law by the closest relatives of the diseased. Parents’ closest relatives are their children. If someone has no children can be inherited by the children of his/her siblings.

In all these cases, the starting point of the inheritance process is to issue the closest relatives certificate where the name of the heirs are mentioned.

In some cases the heir has no Greek citizenship so he/her is not registered in any Municipality of Greece. For example a father is born in Greece and then he left for the USA where he got married, change his name and had 3 children. He never declared his marriage in Greece and the births of his children.

Many years after he got divorced and returned to Greece where he married for the second time. In Greece he was using his greek name.

He passed away in Greece and his only heir, according to his family record at the Greek Municipality, is his second wife only, because there are no children registered or declared in any public record of births in Greece.

The 3 children that he had from his first marriage are legal heirs of his inheritance at a percentage of ¾ of all of his assets, movable and immovable located in Greece.

However in order to claim their inheritance right they will face some problems that they have to overcome with the help of an attorney.

One common problem is the modification of the name of their father. In other words, if the father appears in more than one certificate (birth or marriage) with different names, then we need to prove that name A and name B belong to the same person.

After we prove that the greek citizen that died is the same person that got married in USA and was the father of 3 children, then we can register the births certificate of his heirs at the Special Registry.

In our example we will face and one more problem. This is the prior marriage and divorce that are not declared in Greece. This is because under Greek law, we must first register in Greece the marriage of the father in the USA. Then, we must find his divorce decree, or court decision, in its detailed form, which we will present to the Greek court in order to have it recognized in the Greek legal order. Once the Greek court issues its decision, recognizing the US divorce decree or decision, we will register the divorce in the greek municipality and then we will register the birth certificates of his children-heirs.

However this registration is not official but indicative and it doesn’t automatically transfuse the greek citizenship to the heirs, but allows the issuing of a correct and in accordance with the reality certificate of closest relatives.

Then the heirs can proceed with the completion of the inheritance procedure.




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e-mail: natmil@otenet.gr, info@legalaction.gr

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