Greek Legislation

Property ownership in Greece

Owning property in Greece is an easy and uncomplicated matter as Greek legislation allows foreigners – regardless of nationality - to own property in most Greek territories. The Greek Constitution – Article 17, paragraph 1 – protects the ownership of property and stipulates that all property owners in Greece have equal rights and obligations.

Ownership restrictions apply only to Non European Union citizens who want to buy property in border areas (East Aegean, Dodecanese islands, and regions of Northern Greece, Kefalonia, and Rhodes). These buyers will first have to apply to the local Prefecture for authorization. The Prefecture grants the authorization after thoroughly investigating the applicant’s record and standing in the community in order to ascertain that he has not engaged in any kind of behavior or act which may in the future be a threat to the region’s security.
Documents necessary for buying property in border areas by NON European citizens and business entities.

A national Land Registry is in the process of being established throughout Greece, and is expected to be completed by 2010. Some regions already have land registries in place, while in those which do not properties are registered in the Registry of Mortgages.

All buildings in Greece are designed and constructed in adherence to European Regulations and Standards, and comply to the strictest anti-seismic regulations (earthquake protection)

Knowing the legal framework and process for buying property in Greece is certainly useful. However, the most important – and enjoyable – part of the process is locating a property that meets your requirements and wins you over. After all, this is how a house becomes a home. Once the ideal property is located and financing is finalized, the process should be completed within 6-8 weeks and you can then sit back and enjoy your new home.

Below is a list of the necessary documentation which must accompany the application by non European Union citizens or entities (i.e. originating and/or based in third countries outside the EU), who are not parties or participants in other agreements, special acts, or protocols which would allow them to own real estate in Greece.

Citizens of, or entities based in the EU, who wish to make real estate purchases, need obtain the permission from the local Prefecture ONLY in the case that the property is located within a restricted area (border, military, etc).

PRIVATE CITIZENS

  1. Application accompanied by following information/documentation:

a. Application for exemption of Law 1892/90
b. Curriculum Vitae
c. Detailed description of the property
d. Intended use of the property (private/commercial/investment)
e. Contact data of the buyer’s corresponding attorney

  1. Certified copies of passport(s) or Identity card(s)
  2. Birth Certificate (1 original and 5 copies)
  3. Official and certified translations of the above (1 original and 5 copies)
  4. Penal Records (1 original and 5 copies)
  5. Official and certified translations of the penal records (1 original and 5 copies)
  6. Certified topographical plan and/or house/floor plans of the property in question (4 copies)
  7. Certified land maps showing the exact position of the real property (4copies)

LEGAL ENTITIES

  1. Application accompanied by the following information/documentation:

a. Application for exemption of Law 1892/90
b. Curriculum Vitae (Company Profile)
c. Detailed description of the property
d. Intended use of the property (private/commercial/investment)
e. Contact data of the buyer’s corresponding attorne

  1. Documents related with the entity

a. Certification of establishment (5 copies) 
In case the certification names other legal as share holders, it is necessary to submit the certification of establishment of those entities as well in order to enable the background check of natural persons associated with the entities.
b. Certified copy of the articles of association/incorporation
In case the articles of association/incorporation name other legal as share holders, it is necessary to submit the certified articles of those entities as well in order to enable the background check of natural persons associated with the entities.
The articles must state: capital, number of shares, names of the shareholders and their corresponding share in the entity.
c. Certified copies listing the names of the members of the General Council/Executive Board, their functional position at the entity and their personal data (6 copies)
d. Certified copies with future cadres in case shares have been transferred and all their personal data (6 copies)
e. Certified Power of Attorney for transfer (6 copies)
f. Certified copy of entity’s commercial record (6 copies)
g. Balance sheets of previous financial uses
h. Certifications of non bankruptcy
i. Statements of the capital base contribution of the majority share holder of a corporation, the members of a personal company, or the company shares of a limited company.

  1. Documents related with the natural persons participating in the entity

a .Certified copies of passport(s) or Identity card(s)
b. Birth Certificate (1 original and 5 copies)
c. Official and certified translations of the above (1 original and 5 copies)
d. Penal Records (1 original and 5 copies)
e. Official and certified translations of the penal records (1 original and 5 copies)

  1. Documents related to the property

a. Certified topographical plan and/or house/floor plans of the property in question (4 copies)
b. Certified land maps showing the exact position of the real property (4 copies)

Information for Property Transaction Contracts in Greece

Contracts for effecting real estate transactions in Greece are drafted by specially authorized legal professionals called notaries (Notary Public). Although attorneys by training, notaries are authorized and have state licenses to practice only this aspect of the process, namely to draw up contracts.

A person or entity interested in buying or selling property in Greece is required to undertake the following steps:

  • Select the property
  • Assign an attorney who will in turn proceed with the title search. The National Cadastral Map of Greece – which does not cover the entire country - is now in the process of being replaced by the National Land Registry. Until the National Land Registry (Ktimatologio) is completed and fully into effect, caution should be exercised during the title search process, especially as regards the legal title holder. The attorney should be meticulous in ascertaining who the owner is and whether or not there are any claims, mortgages, liens or other encumbrances on the property.
  • A simple rule of thumb is this: the property has had to have at least one contractual act recorded. This is a significant indicator because some properties – especially in rural areas – do not have proper titles and have been transferred without a contract. It is the responsibility of the attorney who performs the title search to make an assessment of the property’s legal status.
  • Assign a Civil Engineer to review the existing topographical drawing of the property diagram and physically survey the property. A proper topographical drawing includes the area of the plot, its layout in relation to neighboring plots, the permitted use (whether or not it can be build upon), and some specialized characteristics such as Forest and Archaeological Office permits.
  • Appoint a notary who will draw up the contract.

Contract structure and content

The contract drawn up by the notary should include:

a) A unified number for Kefalonia contracts given by the notary and a date. The number is composed of the real estate property identification number and the transcription number given by the Registry of Mortgages Office to the notary.

b) Full information of the contracting parties including full names, fathers’ names, mothers’ names, police identity (I. D.) numbers, tax registration numbers, addresses and professions.

c)T Detailed description of the property and accompanying documentation references including use, borders, area, and topographical data from the official topographical drawing. The contract should also include all previous contractual acts related to the property such as titles, contract numbers, and registration numbers at the Registry of Mortgages.

d) A statement by the seller mentioning the price and the terms and conditions of the transaction such as the case of financing by an institution etc.

e) The seller guarantees that the property is not encumbered by debts, liens, etc.

f) The buyer’s intent to accept title to the property and the seller’s statement of resignation from any rescission right.

g) The declared value and copies of the transfer tax statement obtained by the notary

It should be noted that the Tax Office uses the “assessed” or “objective” value to calculate transfer tax. This may differ from the agreed upon purchase price. If the declared price is higher than this “objective” price, the transfer tax is calculated on the higher value. If the declared price is lower than the “objective” price, the transfer tax is calculated on the “objective” price.

The notary reads the contract out loud, certifies that the transaction is carried out legally, and mentions in summary the laws and statutes governing the transaction.

Other considerations:

  1. The contract is drawn up in the Greek language only, several copies. The original copy is kept in the notary’s office and an official copy is submitted to and registered/recorded at the Registry of Mortgages. The buyer may obtain as many additional copies as he wishes by paying a fee. If the buyer so wishes he may have a translator present at the signing of the contract. The translator, under oath, translates the contract orally from Greek to the buyer’s language. Once the contract reading is completed by the translator, he declares that he performed the translation correctly; quoting only what was in the contract. The buyer attests that he comprehended the contract and signs the contract. Subsequently, the buyer may – at his expense – have the contract officially translated and certified by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs’ Translational Service. More often than not, buyers will have a trusted attorney or acquaintance, that is fluent in both languages, translates the contract for their records.
  2. The contracting parties sign only the original contract.
  3. At the signing of the contract, the contracting parties must possess and carry all legal documents proving personal identity or legal representation in the case where the buyer is an entity represented by a representative.
  4. Costs associated with the Land Registry are payable by the buyer.
  5. For the transaction to be completed the contract has to be registered at the Registry of Mortgages.

Expenses payable by buyers of property in Greece

The following costs and expenses are payable by the buyer:

a) Transfer Tax: calculated as a percentage of the property price (ranges from 7% to 9%). Price is understood to be the “objective” price or the declared sale price – whichever is higher.

b) Attorney’s Fee: Attorney’s Fee. The fee is estimated at 1-2% of the selling price, is subject to agreement and may be incremented by any costs associated with the title search and any costs incurred by the provision of additional legal advice.

c) Notary’s Fee: 1,3% of the declared purchase price

e) Registrar’s Fee: the fee for registering the deed is 0.45% of the declared price of the property.

The Land Registry (Ktimatologio)

The Land Registry (Ktimatologio), to be completed on a national level by 2010, will be the central, unified property registry for Greece. Already, parts of the country have been incorporated into this Land Registry. Most towns and areas still rely on the local office of the Registry of Mortgages which is the existing authority registering and securing property ownership rights in Greece. This Registry (called “Hypothykofylakion”) will eventually be phased out once the National Land Registry is completed.

What is the role of public registration authorities?
The existing Registry of Mortgages and the newly established Land Registry are authorities which record and register all the legal and technical information of real estate property in Greece, including titles of ownership, transfers, modifications etc. They provide all the information needed for title searches and secure the rights and obligations of every property owner in the country.
As previously mentioned, some areas have still to complete the Land Registry establishment and in these areas all transactions are registered and secured by the Registry of Mortgages. In areas such as the Athens metropolitan area, where the Land Registry in effect, all transactions, mortgages, modifications of property need only be registered with this new authority.

However, there are still thousands of properties of every type – ranging from lots to apartment buildings – in these areas which have yet to be registered with the new authority. The question that obviously comes to mind is “what is the legal status of these properties?
In cases where the owner has neglected to register his property with the new authority to date, the property is registered as “property of unknown owner” Should you find yourself in this situation, you have the right to file a court petition against the registry, prove that you are the rightful owner, and have the authority register the property in your name.
A more sinister scenario is the occasional declaration by a “trespasser” that a property is his when he actually has no legal claim on it, other than a “desire” to own it. Many ambitious “land-grabbers” are attempting to exploit the weakness inherent in the conversion from an old system to a new – namely the negligence of rightful owners to register their property with the new authority. They are actually trying to appropriate these “forgotten” properties, due to the rightful owners’ neglect to register them. Should you find yourself in this position, please be aware that you must file a court action against such a person and be able to prove that the property in question is yours and not theirs.
For both cases mentioned above the statute of limitations for filing an action is 5 years from the time that the land registry went into effect in the area where the property is located. For owners who reside outside of Greece, the statute of limitations is extended to 7 years.
In the unfortunate situation that this time limitations have been exhausted before you have filed a court action, you automatically lose ownership of the property, maintaining only the right to claim financial compensation.

Private and commercial rentals in Greece

The leasing of property is governed by the 1st article of Law 2235/94. All new leases are free with a minimum duration of 3 years. Old leases can be terminated unilaterally by the owner at the end of the lease period without compensation or further ado. A tenant may not transfer his tenancy rights to a third party, except in the case of his death, whereupon his immediate family (heirs) has the option of continuing or terminating the tenancy.

The rent amount is freely negotiated and agreed upon between the owner and the tenant, with no rent control regulations as to minimum or maximum rent for a specific property. At present, the commercial rental market is also free of controls in terms of initial rent amount and periodic increases. However, the law stipulates that the duration of such a commercial lease is at least 12 years. This does not apply to leases with duration less than one year and to new rentals of historical buildings. Laws 2.235/1994 and 3741/1999 provide property owners with two options should they wish to recover their properties:

  1. Any lease in place for more than 12 years can be terminated by the owner, provided that within 9 months of its termination, the owner requests that the premises be vacated. The owner must pay a compensatory amount to the tenant which equals 24 monthly rents. The property is then free to be rented for any legal use, including the same business of the previous tenant, without further financial compensation. The owner does not have this obligation to compensate should the tenant leave of his own free volition or in the case that the tenant was a professional (attorney, doctor, engineer, notary, etc).
  2. Should at the end of the 12 year period the owner does not exercise within 9 months his right to request that his property be vacated, the lease is automatically – “silently” – extended for an additional 4 years. At the end of this extended period (i.e. a total of 16 years), the owner has the right to ask that his property be vacated without having any obligation to compensate the tenant. There are two more ways to recover the property before the completion of this 12 year period (but not before the expiration of the actual contract): demolition and reconstruction of the building, and eviction for the purposes of the owner or his immediate family (i.e. wife, children) using the property. In both these cases the compensation payable to the tenant amounts to any where between 1-3 years of rent, depending on the case.

Importing a vehicle to Greece

Importing a vehicle to Greece (and Kefalonia) has not been an easy or inexpensive matter in the past. These procedures are becoming simpler as the European Union’s uniform legislation seeking to provide equal rights to all its citizens, nowadays supersedes national regulations and practices. Therefore many of the regulations that apply to Greece, apply to other EU countries as well.

The regulations applicable depend on how long you plan to use your car in Greece (Kefalonia). A European citizen traveling to Greece (Kefalonia) with a car registered in another EU country is free to bring the car into the country for up to 6 months without having to go through customs control. Please note however, that you are required to have proper documentation proving that the car is registered in an EU country and furthermore proving your date of entry into Greece. The simplest way to prove the date of entry is to hold on to the boat ticket stub, etc. It’s of no use to claim that you’ve lost this stub since nowadays all vehicles entering a ferry are recorded by license plate number and officials do have access to this data.

Once the 6 month period is up, you have the following options:

  1. Exit Greece with the car and stay away for at least 185 days. This gives you the right to re import the same car for an additional 6 months without having to pay customs duty.
  2. Exit Greece and leave the car in the specially designated Customs premises for 185 days.
  3. Permanently import the car following the normal customs procedure – this is outlined in the following section.

Should you overstay the 6 month duty free period and are caught by the Customs Police, a fine is imposed for each day exceeding the 6 month period. The car is confined at Customs until either you pay the fine and leave the country, or you go through the procedure of having the car permanently imported.

For more information and advice you can contact the Directorate for the Supervision and Control of Cars, DIPEAK, Akti Kondyli 32, Piraeus 185 10 - Phone: +30 210 4623615 / 6325 / 7325.

Permanent importation of a car to Greece

If you are an EU citizen and wish to import your car to Greece (Kefalonia), you are exempt from paying VAT and Special Consumption Tax IF:

  1. You are a citizen/resident of another EU country for at least 3 years and has lived in a EU country for at least 3 years prior to your arrival in Greece.
  2. You have not been a resident of Greece for more than 2 years.
  3. You have a certificate issued by the Greek Consular Authority of your previous country of residence which states that you are changing your residence. This certificate is valid for 12 months. For its issuance you’ll need P60s for the last 3 years, P45, utility bills, Council tax bills for the last 2 years, a bank statement and the vehicle's documents.
  4. The car to be imported is equipped with a catalytic converter.
  5. The car to be imported has been in your possession and use for at least 6 months in your former country of residence, and all VAT and applicable taxes have been paid off.
  6. You have a valid 5 year residence permit in Greece
  7. Upon entering the country you have signed an affidavit declaring that you are importing the car for permanent use.

If all the above requirements are fulfilled, within 45 days from the date of importation, you must apply for a VAT and Special Consumption Tax exemption at your nearest Customs Office. The car has to pass technical inspection at a Vehicle Technical Control Centre (KTEO).

Once all this is completed, you are permitted to purchase the special Greek Registration (License) plates which are given to imported cars. These red plates signify that you may not transfer, lease, rent, lent, sell this car, or change its use without prior approval of Customs for 1 year. Doing so will require that you pay the total amount of the tax that would have been due and from which you were exempted.

Should you decide to transfer or lease the car for the next five years, you will have to pay a portion of the initial tax exempted, according to the following schedule:

after 1 year: 80%
after 2 years: 60%
after 3 years: 40%
after 4 years: 20%

After 5 years you can freely transfer or lease the car without obligation to repay any tax.
Some other points of interest:

  1. The above regulations apply to new and used cars, new leisure boats not exceeding 7.5 m in length, new motorcycles, and used motorcycles over 250 cc, and new and used mobile trailers.
  2. If the car has a diesel engine, you may NOT drive it in Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki.
  3. Greek taxation laws take into account presumptive income (Tekmirio) for properties and cars. This is an assumed amount which is taxable and in the case of vehicles it is effectively taxable when the new factory value of the vehicle exceeds 50.000 Euros. In such a case, a tax declaration must be submitted to the Tax Office.

We recommend that you contact your nearest Customs Office prior to importation, or seek more information at Directorate of Customs, Ministry of Finance, Amalias 40, Athens 105 62, Tel.: +30 2103245552 / 5587.

Setting up a company in Greece

Greek legislation with regard to legal entity formation is based on the French system. The major types of companies in Greece are equivalents to the French:

  • Societe a Responsabilite Limite ( S.A.R.L.)
  • Societe en Nom Collectif
  • Socitete en Commandite
  • Societe Anonyme

Listed respectively below are the Greek equivalents of the French system:

Etairia Periorismenis Efthinis (E.P.E.) The E.P.E. is by law a commercial company governed by L.3190/55 as amended. The minimum share capital is 18.000 Euros and it is not divided into shares. Its main advantage is the limitation of liability.
Omorithmi Etairia
Eterorithmi Etairia
Anonimi Etairia (A.E or S.A. Company)
"A.E." stands for “Anonimi Etairia” but S.A. is often used holding on to the French acronym. S.A. companies are governed by the articles of Law 2190/20 and its numerous subsequent amendments and modifications. The S.A. or "A.E." is a legal commercial company regardless of its object. The minimum share capital is 60.000 Euros. Although the "A.E." is has been originally designed as an organizational structure for large corporations, its flexibility and advantages make it suitable for use even by a single shareholder entity. The overseeing authority for S.A. companies is the Ministry of Commerce represented by the Prefecture on a local basis.

The main advantages of an S.A. or A.E. are:

  • Limited liability
  • Free transfer of shares
  • Separation of management from ownership
  • tax benefits

Procedures for setting up an S.A. Company in Greece

A. Drafting of articles of incorporation by an attorney. The final provisions of the articles of incorporation appoint a person who is authorized by the shareholders to act on behalf of the company vis-à-vis any authorities and legal procedures.

B. Approval of the company name by the local Chamber of Commerce. The company name may be any distinctive word in Greek or Latin characters, to the exclusion of specific defamatory or insulting words. The Chamber of Commerce applies a rule as to names already in use by another company or previously applied for: they may be used as long as the object of the business is different. This is allowed because the full legal name of an S.A. company includes a short description of its main business objective. While the proposed name is being investigated in the names register, it is temporarily reserved for one month.

C. Signing of the articles of incorporation by the founders in the presence of a Notary Public.

D. The articles of incorporation are submitted to the authorized Prefecture department for verification as to their drafting according to the provisions of Law 2190/20. If no objections are raised by the Prefecture, the articles are approved, whereas if the Prefecture does have any objections or modifications, an additional document incorporating these changes is drawn up by the Notary. It is not unusual for the Prefecture to locate errors or request modifications.

E. Payment of duty in favor of the Competition Committee. This duty is amounts to 1/1000th of the original share capital and is deposited into the account of the Competition Committee kept in the National Bank of Greece.

F. Verification of the articles of incorporation by the local Chamber of Commerce.

G. Application to the Prefecture for registration in the Register of S.A. companies. The application is drafted using the sample provided by the Prefecture. This application is submitted along with a copy of the articles of incorporation verified by the Chamber of Commerce and the receipt of the deposit of the duty in favor of the Competition Committee. The Prefecture accepts the application and an “Announcement” of the Prefect approving the company’s articles is issued to the applicant. The number of working days necessary for this acceptance depends on the specific Prefecture’s workload. The Prefect’s Announcement is essentially the company’s birth certificate and is then forwarded to the Government Gazette for publication.

H. Payment of the Capital Accumulation Tax, which amounts to 1% of the share capital.

I .Payment of the Government Gazette publication fee.
The two tax items above are payable at the company’s local tax office and their payment is certified by two stamps which the tax office attaches to the bottom of the Prefect’s Announcement.

J. Publication of the "Announcement" in the Government Gazette. The Government Gazette provides the applicant with a reference code by which the specific issue can be traced in the future. The Announcement is usually published within 20-30 days. It usually takes 20 to 30 days for publication to take place. During this period, for any authority requiring copies of the Government Gazette publication, the reference number will suffice

Limited Liability Company

General characteristics of a Greek Limited Liability Company

  1. It is considered a commercial entity by law, whether or not its activity is commercial. (Article 3, Law 3190/1955)
  2. A limited liability company does not have shares as an S.A. does. The ownership is denominated in “parts” owned by named persons or entities. For this reason the transfer of “parts” of a limited liability company has more restrictions attached than the transfer of shares in an S.A.
  3. The minimum initial capital requirement is currently 18.000 Euros, with each “part” having a nominal value of 30 Euro. (Article 4, Law 3190/1955)
  4. The capital of the Ltd Company may be accumulated by contributions in consideration other than cash (or by combination of both). To be acceptable, the contributions in consideration must be of a nature which can be listed in the accounting records. The assessed value of such contributions is determined by a committee of the Prefecture. (Article 5, Law 3190/1955).
  5. The Articles of Association are signed before a Notary Public. Subsequent transfers of “parts” are also made by a notary drawn document.
  6. Jurisdiction over Ltd companies lies with the Court of First Instance in the area where the company has its registered seat.
  7. All amendments to the Articles of Association must be publicized and are subsequently registered in the Book kept by the Court of First Instance.
  8. The Ltd is managed by the General Meeting of the holders. The G.M. is convened at least once a year within three months from the end of the financial year. Every member (i.e. holder of at least 1 “part”) is entitled to take part in the G.M. and has one vote for each “part”. Resolutions are reached by a majority of the number of members. These members must also cumulatively hold more than 50% of the capital (double requirement).
  9. The management of the Ltd is assigned to one or more directors, who may or may not be members (part-holders) of the company. The appointment of the director(s) is made either by the Articles of Association or by a resolution of the General meeting, subject to publication requirements.
  10. In addition to the books kept for tax office compliance, the additional company books kept by the Directors of a Ltd are: a) the book of members b) the book of G.M. resolutions c) the book of Director's resolutions.

Single-member Greek Limited Liability Company

Article 43a of Law 3190/1955, as amended by P.D. 279/1993, allows an Ltd to be formed by one person. The additional requirements imposed on “Single-member Ltd companies” are:

The full company name must include the phrase “Single-member Limited Liability Company”.
The G.M. resolutions are signed in the presence of a notary public who signs them as well.
All contracts signed by the Ltd, except for the daily operational transactions, are registered in the Minutes or must be in writing.

What is the procedure for establishing a Ltd Company?

  1. Drafting of the Articles of Association by an attorney.
  2. Temporary registration (valid for one month) and search for the availability of the proposed company name and distinctive title at the local Chamber of Commerce.
  3. Verification of the draft Articles of Association (signed by the attorney) by the appropriate Legal Counsels’ Association.
  4. Signing of the Articles of Association by its founders (or from authorized, through Power of Attorney, persons) before a Notary Public. The Notary Public must be presented with the following documents: the verified draft of the fees, taxation clearances for the founders and their Tax Registry Number.
  5. Payment of the Capital Accumulation (1%) within 15 days from the signing of the Articles of Association.
  6. Payment of the fees to the Lawyers' Fund and to the Lawyers' Social Security Fund.
  7. Verification of the original copy of the Articles of Association by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  8. Filing of the Articles of Association within one month from their signing, with the Secretariat of the Court of First Instance for registration in the Book of Limited Liability Companies.
  9. Publication of a summary of the Articles of Association in the Government Gazette.
  10. Registration of the company at the Chamber of Commerce. The company has to be registered at the local Chamber and pay its annual subscription fees.

For the registration it is required to submit the following:

a. an application provided by the Chamber Registrar
b. a copy of the Articles of Association, certified by the Court of First Instance.
c. The Government Gazette with the publication of the summary of the Articles of Association and
d. Photocopies of the police identification cards or passports of the partners and the director, in case he is a partner. If the partners and the director are non EU residents their residence and working permits need also be submitted.

What is the cost for the establishment of an Ltd. with share capital of 18.000 Euros (statutory minimum)

a) Pre-approval of the corporate name and distinctive title by the appropriate Chamber: Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry: 30 Euros

b) Attorney’s fees deposited at the Legal Counsels’ Association: 180 Euros

c) Notary Public fees: approx. 200-300 Euros

d) Lawyer's Fund: approx. 100 Euros

e) Lawyer's Social Security Fund: 1% of the capital (180 Euros)

f) Capital Accumulation Tax: 180 Euros (1% of the capital (Law 1676/1986)

g) Pre registration of the company at the Chamber of Commerce: costs covering necessary stamps, etc are usually negligent at most Chambers of Commerce, with the exception of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce where this cost is approximately 100 Euros.

h) Court of First Instance: approx. 10 Euros (for 1 certified copy).

i) Publication of the summary of the Articles of Association in the Government Gazette: approx. 250 Euros

j) Attorney’s fee (subject to agreement)

Accepting an Inheritance in Greece

The Athens courts have absolute jurisdiction to handle inheritance issues of foreign residents. Such cases cannot be resolved in any other court elsewhere in the country.

If you have a relative - Greek or not – who has died abroad and had assets in Greece, the following steps must be followed in order to accept the inheritance and be declared a legal heir:

(Note: any and all legal action necessary must go through the Athens courts).

a) Provide your attorney – who has to have a specific Power of Attorney from you- with any documents available, including your relative’s last will and testament, and any papers about the deceased person and his assets.

b) Your attorney in turn will undertake all the necessary steps required to have the inheritance accepted and declare you as a legal heir. Among other things, he will have to go to court and have the will published. Depending on the type of assets involved and whether or not there are disputes with other heirs, the attorney will receive a certificate which confirms your inheritance rights to the assets. There is a bit of paperwork, to and from the court, which attorneys are very familiar with and can handle, without you having to worry about it.

c) The attorney registers your inheritance acceptance contract at a specific public agency in Athens, which then issues inheritance ownership certificate.

d) The inheritance tax forms must be filed Athens tax office handling tax matters for foreign residents (Tax Office for Foreign Residents” located on Patission Avenue in Athens)

e) Payment of the inheritance tax. (Athens Tax Office)

Parents’ donations in Greece

This legal vehicle was instituted in order for parents to donate their assets to their children before their death, in order to avoid burdening their children with tremendous inheritance taxes in the future. The donations are subject to taxation but this tax is much lower than the inheritance tax.

If you wish to donate your assets to your children, you must:

a) Declare your wishes to a Notary Public. You have the option of making a total or partial. For example, if the assets are real estate property, you may transfer the title to your children and maintain a life-interest in the property.

b) Pay the tax which is calculated as follows:

For property worth up to 20.000 euros, the donation is tax free.
For property worth 50.000 euros, the donation tax is 750 Euros.
For property worth 100.000 euros, the donation tax is 3.500 euros.
c) Donation taxes paid in one installment get a 5% discount. An installment schedule is also possible with installment minimum set at 300 Euros.
This is a straight forward procedure which can be easily handled by your attorney authorized by your Power of Attorney.

Mixed marriages and divorces
Greece and the other EU countries (with the exception of Denmark) signed a Treaty in 2001 by which a European Divorce Court's decision is automatically valid and legal in both Countries of the divorcees (Greece and the any other European Country).

This leaves a lot of vague ground vis-à-vis countries which have not signed the Treaty and the status of divorcees who got the divorce decree before the Treaty was signed.
If a Greek person got divorced in a country which has not signed the Treaty or got divorced prior of the year 2001, this person is viewed by Greek law as still being married.

Ways to handle this matter:

a) Greek divorced persons must get a Greek court to declare their "foreign" divorce court's decision, valid in Greece. To do this, have an attorney submit an application to the Greek court in order to get a hearing date and present your case in front of the Judge.

b) The attorney must present to the Court documents from the Greek and foreign Courts. These documents must be officially translated into Greek (either at the Ministry of Foreign in Athens, or the Greek Embassy abroad) and bear the Apostil stamp on the back.

c) This procedure may take 7-9 months for completion.

d) If the wedding was performed in a church, then the documents must be submitted to the Archdiocese which will issue a spiritual dissolution of the marriage. Only then are Greek persons declared legally divorced in Greece.

e) A similar procedure is necessary at Registrar’s Office in Greece, if the marriage which took place abroad was a civil ceremony.

 

Athens Office: 78 Marathon Street 16673 Panorama, Voula
Tel & Fax: (0030) 210 89 95 499, Mobile: (0030) 6944 344 683, (0030) 6977 090 163
Kefalonia Office: Mavrata Village 28082, Tel & Fax: (0030) 26710 81618, E-mail: divacasa@hol.gr