How to claim your inheritance from a bank in Greece
By Christos ILIOPOULOS
You know that a deceased relative of yours has left accounts, shares and/or other kinds of assets with a bank. You live outside of Greece and you know or you think that you are entitled to all or some part of this property, but you do not know how to act to safeguard your rights.
First of all you need to make sure that you are a legal heir under Greek law. If the deceased person has left a will, then we will study it in order to find out who the heir is. At the will the owner of the property can leave his/her property to any person he/she wants.
However, according to Greek law the children, the spouse (and the parents) of the deceased are always entitled to a share of the inheritance, even if they are not mentioned in the will at all. They will always get half of what they would be getting if there was no will.
If there is no will left, then the spouse gets one quarter of the inheritance, if there is a spouse and children, and half of the inheritance if there is spouse and brothers or sisters of the deceased.
The children get three quarters of the inheritance if there is a spouse, and all the inheritance if there is no surviving spouse.
The bank in order to give to you information whether the deceased owned any account will ask from you the certificate of death. Then, you will need to prove to the bank that you are among the closer relatives of the deceased, or that you are named as a beneficiary at the will. You will also need to prove to the bank that there is no other will. In order to do this, you will get a certificate from the court saying that the specific deceased has left no other probated wills.
If the amount at the bank accounts is more than 9,000 euros, the bank will ask in addition a certificate from the court that you are entitled to the inheritance. Such a certificate (Klironomitirion) is issued after a court decision which takes 1-4 months to be issued, depending on the number of cases the different courts of Greece handle.
You will receive no share of the inheritance from the bank unless you have first paid the inheritance tax. The spouse does not pay tax for an inheritance worth 100,000 euros or less. The same holds for the children under the age of 18. The children who are adults do not pay tax for an inheritance up to 20,000 euros. But even if you have to pay tax, the percentage is relatively low (5 – 10%).
It is very important to make sure that the deceased owned a bank account with only his/her name as owner. If the account was a joint bank account, the surviving owner of the account can withdraw all the amount without having to prove to the bank that he is a hair, because he is taking the money as a joint owner of the account and not as a heir.