What are the national rules in case of intestate succession (no will has been set up)?

In the absence of a will and if succession is governed by Greek inheritance law, then the criteria of parentage and marriage designate the heirs. According to articles 1813 seq. of Greek Civil Code there are six classes of intestate heirs as follows:

1. The first class: descendants of the deceased (children, grandchildren, great
grandchildren). The descendant of the nearest degree excludes all other descendants of
a more remote degree. The surviving spouse is grouped in the first class and his/her
portion is one fourth (¼) of the estate.

2. The second class: the deceased’s parents, brothers and sisters and as well as the
children and grandchildren of the brothers and sisters who pre-deceased the deceased.

3. The third class: the grandparents of the deceased. If the grandparents do not survive,
their children and grandchildren take the portion.

4. The fourth class: the great grandparents of the deceased who inherit per capita
irrespective of line. The surviving spouse, concurring with the second, third or forth
class, receives one half of the estate.

5. In the fifth class, if no relatives of the four classes exist, the spouse inherits all the

6. In the sixth class, in the absence of relatives, the heir is the State of the deceased’s

What are the national forced heirship rules, if any existing?

Rules of forced heirship apply to Greek citizens and to the testamentary dispositions of foreigners if their national law provides. Under Greek heirship rules, the forced heirs are entitled to a reserved portion of the estate, which includes the shares of the disinherited or unworthy heirs and those who renounced succession. The reserved portion does not increase if a co-heir has lost his/her succession right. Any testamentary dispositions that prejudice a forced heir, or any restrictions imposed on his/his share by a will, are null and void.
If other heirs refuse to give the reserved portion to a forced heir, the forced heir has the right to demand restitution. Donations of the testator during his lifetime to the detriment of the estate and the reserved portion may be cancelled if the estate at death does not suffice to cover the reserved portion.

What are the national formal requirements when setting up a will (holographic will, will confirmed by witnesses, will confirmed by a notary public)?

Wills are made whenever a testator wishes arrangements other than those envisaged by intestate succession. Greek law provides for three types of ordinary wills, i.e. the holographic, the public and the secret.

  • the holographic will is handwritten by the testator, it is dated and signed by the hand of the testator (art. 1721 of Greek Civil Code).
  • the public will is made before a notary in the presence of three (3) witnesses or of another notary and one (1) witness (art. 1724 of Greek Civil Code).
  • the secret will is an intermediate form between the holographic and the public will. The testator is under no obligation to execute a secret will in handwriting, but he/she must sign it. The secret will is handed to the notary public in a sealed envelope, in the presence of three (3) witnesses or another notary public and one (1) witness (art. 1738 of Greek Civil Code) and the testator declares verbally before the witnesses that “this is his/her last will”.

Is inheritance and/or gift tax in place or abolished?

If inheritance tax and/or gift tax is in place please specify the percentages of tax respectively the calculation of tax!

In Greece both the inheritance tax and gift tax are in place and are based on the value transferred through inheritance or gift (donation). The tax is based on a graduated scale of rates, which increases with the value of the property transferred (inherited or gifted). The inheritance tax is imposed on the beneficiaries of the estate. The liability for the tax arises at the time of death. Greek inheritance taxation is regulated by Greek Code on “Inheritance, gifts, tax, parental benefits and profits from lottery” (Greek law no. 2961/2001 as it is amended by Greek laws no. 3842/ 2010 and no. 3815/2010). The beneficiaries of the inherited or gifted property are classified into the following three categories:

  • 1rst Category consists of (a) the spouse of the deceased, (b) the person with whom the descendant had a registered partnership (civil partnership), (c) the descendants by blood of the first degree, (d) the descendants by blood of the second degree, (e) the ascendants by blood of the first degree. In particular, with regard to the adopted descendants, the law stipulates that they are to be treated as natural children.
  • 2nd Category includes (a) the descendants by blood of the third and subsequent degrees, (b) the ascendants by blood of the second and subsequent degrees, (c) voluntarily or judicially recognized children against the ascendants of the father, who acknowledged them, (d) the descendants of the child that was voluntarily or judicially recognized against the father who recognized the former against the former's ascendants, (e) the siblings, (f) the collateral blood relatives of the third degree, (g) the stepfathers and stepmothers, (h) children from the previous marriage of the spouse, (i) the children by marriage (groom, bride) and (j) the ascendants by marriage (father-in-law, mother-inlaw).
  • 3rd Category consists of any other person.
    A different tax structure is provided for each category, providing a tax free amount and a progressive tax scale, depending on the value of the inherited / gifted property. In particular, pursuant to art. 29 and 44 of Greek Code on “Inheritance, gifts, tax, parental benefits and profits from lottery” (Greek Law no. 2961/2001 as it is amended), assets acquired because of death or donation are levied tax in accordance to the following tax scales:

1st Category:

Scales in €Tax Rate (%)Tax Scale €Taxable property
in €

Tax which equals
to €



2nd Category:

Scales in €Tax Rate (%)Tax Scale €Taxable property
in €

Tax which equals
to €



3rd Category:

Scales in €Tax Rate (%)Tax Scale €Taxable property
in €

Tax which equals
to €



This information was compiled by Lena Fragi & Zetta Pierratou / GERONYMAKIS & PARTNERS LAW OFFICES