Law Offices of Christos I. ILIOPOULOS Attorney at the Supreme Court of Greece Master Of Laws, International and European Law 105, Alexandras Ave., Athens, 114 75, HELLAS Phone/Facsimile: +30 - 210-6400282, mobile +30 - 6932-775920.
- Συνεργασία με δικηγόρους στο εξωτερικό για εφαρμογή ελληνικού και αλλοδαπού δικαίου.
- Εφαρμογή ευρωπαϊκού δικαίου ενώπιον ελληνικών δικαστηρίων και διοικητικών αρχών.
- Δικαστική υποστήριξη μέχρι τον Άρειο Πάγο και το Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας.
- Inheritances. Wills. Probate. Letters of administration in Greece.
- Civil actions.
- Protection of real estate properties. Claims on lands, properties etc.
- Greek citizenship. Search for birth and marriage records of Greek ancestors.
- Property purchase, sale, closings, title search at Cadastre (Land Registry).
- Representation in court at every level, up to the Supreme Court, in Greece and at the European Courts.
- Family law matters, alimony, divorce, property division.
- Recognition in Greece of court decisions from other countries. Coordination with attorneys from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, South Africa and other countries with regards to the application of Greek and foreign laws.
- Criminal court cases.
- Power of attorney, Apostille, Certification and official translation of legal documents.
People from all over the world, who were not born in Greece, but are of Greek origin,are interested in learning what is required to apply for and obtain the Greek citizenship. They were born outside of Greece, to parents, or grandparents, or sometimes even great grandparents, who were born in Greece. Or simply, to ancestors who were never born in Greece, but they were undoubtedly Greek, like the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), of the Middle East (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria etc.), of Russia and of the other former soviet republics etc.
Those who can prove that have ancestors born in Greece can apply for certification of their Greek citizenship, while those whose ancestors, although undoubtedly Greek, were never born in Greece, are entitled to apply for naturalization. Both types of application lead to the same goal, the full fledged Greek, (and also European), citizenship.
Anyone who wishes to learn whether he/she is eligible for the Greek citizenship and if yes, how to apply for it, must have part or all of the the following information.
The starting point is the full name and data of the ancestor(s) of the applicant, who were born in Greece. This includes the ancestor's name, last name (surname), his or her father's first name, the place of the ancestor's birth in Greece, as close as possible and the year of birth in Greece, as accurate as possible.
Once the above information is available, a search can be undertaken to determine whether any birth or other record of the Greek-born ancestor can be located at the official archives or municipal records of any Greek town or village. If the result is positive, the possibility for the particular applicant to obtain the citizenship increases dramatically.
Next, we need the marriage certificate of the ancestor. It does not matter if the marriage took place in Greece, which is preferable, or outside of Greece. If both ancestors (parents or grandparnets) were born in Greece, things are easier.
In the case where only one of the grandparents was Greek-born, the gender is of importance. If the Greek-born ancestor is/was a grandfather, his marriage to a non-Greek grandmother must be proven religious, Greek Orthodox, if he was Greek Orhtodox, or religious Jewish, if he was Jewish etc.
If on the other hand, the Greek-born ancestor is/was a grandmother, married to a non-Greek grandfather, her marriage must today be proven just civil, not religious.
The type of marriage (civil or religious of any dogma) of the parents of the applicant is not relevant and cannot be an obstacle to the citizenship application, as long as we have a certified copy of it (with the certificate of the Apostille, from certain countries like the USA, Australia, South Africa, but not from Canada).
The birth certificate of the Greek parent of the applicant is also required, as well as the birth certificate of the applicant himslef/herself, also with Apostille, if from certain countries. If the grandparent or parent of the applicant was divorced prior to the marriage from which the applicant was born, we may also need the divorce court decision and the previous marriage certificate. A divorce after the birth of the applicant is not of importance and usually is not even registered in Greece.
If the Greek ancestor of the applicant was not born in Greece, the applicant must know where he/she was born. In such a case, the application will be filed for naturalization and the process does not necesssarilly require a strict line of birth and marriage certificates from the Greek ancestor to the present applicant. However, an interview with the Consul of Greece is the basic requirement, so that the Greek administration determines how much Greek the applicant feels, whether he/she speaks the language, if there are ties with Greece, relatives, friends, visits, professional or other plans relateted to Greece and a general knowledge of the culture and history of the country.
Christos I. ILIOPOULOS, Attorney at Law, LL.M., at the Supreme Court of Greece. tel. +30-210-6400282, mobile +30-6932-775920
What to do to inherit in Greece
By Christos ILIOPOULOS*
26 October 2013
You do not live in Greece and you learn that you are entitled to an inheritance in this country. What are the steps you need to take in order to claim your share?
The first thing that must be done is to get legal advice by a lawyer in Greece, so you are informed about your rights and how to exercise them. You will find out whether you inherit the entire estate (100%) or a share of it. Also, you will learn what information and documents from your end are required, so that the part of the inheritance that you are entitled to becomes your property.
The lawyer in Greece will ask you questions about the next of kin of the deceased. It is vital under Greek inheritance law to establish who are the close blood relatives, their names (first and last name, as well as their father and mother name, if you know them), and their exact relation to the deceased.
Another important matter is whether the deceased has left a will or not. If there is a will, we must know if it was drawn up in Greece, or in another country. Also, we must find out if the will is trusted with a notary or an attorney, or if it is a so called holographic will, (a piece of handwritten paper), which is kept by a relative, a friend, or it is simply found in the house where the deceased lived or elsewhere.
If a will exists, normally it will have to be probated. If it was drawn up outside of Greece, it has first to be probated at the country where it was drawn up and then it will also be probated in Greece.
If there is no will, the intestate succession takes place and we must work with the next of kin. Depending on whether the deceased had the Greek citizenship or not, we will found out who are the heirs who inherit intestate, meaning without a will.
The heir must also know where the deceased passed away, so we obtain the death certificate. If he/she does not know, the lawyer will help.
A matter of great importance is the number and type of assets of the estate, where they are located and if the heir keeps any deeds about the real estate properties, or other information about bank account numbers etc.
If the heir does not have a lot of information about this, the lawyer will act to search for assets, but the heir must give at least some clues, especially about the specific area or areas of Greece where assets may be located. If we know the place where the properties are located, even if we do not have any deeds or other documents which describe the titles, everything can be found at the local cadaster, as long as we know the name, last name and preferably, the father name of the deceased. It must be noted that all legal and commercial deeds and acts in Greece require not only the name (first and last), but also the parents’ names of the persons involved in the transactions.
Sometimes we may have to make a title search not in the name of the deceased, but in the name of his parents, or even uncles, aunts or other relatives, in case title had not officially passed to the deceased and the titles are still in the names of his parents, grandparents or other relatives. In such a case, it will be a double or even triple inheritance succession, for example from the grandmother to her son (deceased) and then to the spouse and children of the son, who are now the present heirs.
Under Greek law, apart from the death certificate, which if not issued in Greece, is officially obtained from the country of issue, translated and registered in Greece, we also have to issue from a GreekMunicipality the certificate of next of kin. This is issued only in case the deceased had the Greek citizenship and we know where in Greece he/she was registered. The same applies even if the deceased had the Greek, as well as another citizenship.
To issue the certificate of next of kin, two witnesses are required to sign an affidavit stating the names of the close blood relatives. One of the two witnesses can be one of the heirs.
If the deceased was not a Greek citizen, a legal opinion by a lawyer or a jurist from the country of the deceased’s citizenship must be obtained, to advise on the intestate laws of that country, particularly if there is no will.
Once type and number of assets, the next of kin and the inheritance shares are established, the lawyer must draft documents to file the estate to the tax office, unless the deceased has died before 1995, in which case the heirs do not pay any inheritance tax at all, irrespective of the value of the estate.
Finally, the heirs, in person, or through their attorney, sign the deed of acceptance of inheritance at the notary, which subsequently is registered with the local cadaster(s), so the real estate assets become personal property of the heirs. If the heirs cannot stay in Greece during the weeks or months which are necessary to complete the paperwork, they sign a power of attorney (POA), to empower their lawyer to sign everything as if they were present in Greece.
If the estate includes bank accounts, instead of the deed at the notary, the heirs may have to obtain a court ruling, called Klironomitirio, to order the bank to release to them the balance of the account(s).
Thinking of buying property in Greece? How it’s done.
By Christos ILIOPOULOS*
10 December 2012
It’s been decades during which real estate property prices in Greece have been steadily increasing. Purchasing property in Greece was a safe bet for almost time immemorial. Especially since the property boom of 1998 onwards, when Greek banks started offering loans and mortgages to a relative “virgin” Greek mortgage - finance market, values in many areas had skyrocketed.
That until 2010. When the crisis hit hard in Greece, property values first stopped rising. And then, for the last two or three years, they have started their steady, albeit controlled, decline.
Until a couple of years ago foreign prospective buyers may have thought that the properties they liked in Greece were a bit overvalued. Now this is history. Property prices have declined, in some cases dramatically, to such an extent that many think that now is the opportunity to buy.
If you are among those contemplating purchasing property in Greece, here is some basic advice on the process from A to Z.
First, one has to locate the property he/she is interested into. This can be done either by personally searching the market and using every bit of information one has on properties, locations, prices, yearly yields etc. or by appointing one or more real estate brokers to find the property with the characteristics one desires.
It must be noted that when you sell or buy property in Greece, you can appoint more than one estate agent to offer you opportunities for a deal. Usually, you are not bound by exclusivity terms and you have the option to take or to decline any offer provided by the agent, even if it meets your initial requirements. If you decide to take the deal, you will have to pay a maximum 2% on the sale price to the agent, who found the deal for you.
Once you have spotted the property you want, and you have agreed on the price, you need to retain a lawyer, who will work only for you. It is advisable that especially if you are a foreigner, not familiar with Greek law and practice, the lawyer should be of your absolute choice and trust.
Retaining an attorney, who comes as a referral from the estate agent or even from the seller’s or developer’s side, may not be a good idea. It is vital that your lawyer protects solely your interests and is not even acquainted with the other party. Many foreigners have purchased real estate property in Greece in the past, not exactly knowing that the lawyer who represented them on the purchase should have been of their absolute choice and trust, and there have been cases where the complications that followed could have been avoided if there was a better understanding between foreign buyers and their Greek attorney.
Once the attorney working for the buyer has become familiar with his/her clients’ desires and instructions, allowing for a client – attorney understanding and confidentiality to be established, the attorney for the buyer will contact the seller’s attorney and the agent, to request copies of the deeds/titles of the property to be sold. The most crucial part of the purchase is to check the titles and confirm that the property is free of any legal burden, lien or other liabilities.
The title check takes place at the local cadaster or land registry, where the property is located. The examination of the good standing of the titles of the property to be purchased takes place on the spot at the local land registry by the buyer’s attorney and it is the most crucial part of the purchase. Only lawyers are allowed to make such title searches and only the buyer’s attorney will have the final say (and the final responsibility) for the purchase to go ahead or not, at least as far as the buyer is concerned.
Once the title search has produced the result that the property is of sound legal standing, or once the necessary adjustments in the titles have been done by the seller (modifications of his titles, deletion of old and forgotten liens etc.), the notary public will start drafting the deed of sale. The notary public is chosen and paid by the buyer. The attorney for the buyer and the attorney for the seller advise the notary public on the drafting of the deed of sale.
The seller and the buyer will execute the deed of sale at the notary’s office, in the presence of their respective attorneys. Each side (seller and buyer) can execute the deed either in person (by physically being present at the notary’s office and signing the deed), or by proxy. Their proxy can be their attorney, a friend or a relative, who must be of their utmost trust.
The foreign buyer must always remember that the funds to be used for the purchase of the property must be wired from the buyer’s bank account abroad to the buyer’s bank account in Greece. If the foreign buyer has funds in a Greek bank, the buyer must have either declared the funds as income in his past Greek tax returns, or must be able to prove that he/she wired the funds in the past years from a bank outside of Greece to a Greek bank.
The final important matter that any foreign buyer of property in Greece must be aware of is that the purchase of the real estate property has not taken place, even after it has been executed by the two parties at the notary’s office, until the deed is properly registered with the local land registry, in the buyer’s name. This usually happens within a few days of the deed’s execution.
*Christos ILIOPOULOS, attorney at
the Supreme Court of Greece , LL.M.
Χρήστος Ηλιόπουλος του Ηλία και της Νίκης
Δικηγόρος στον Άρειο Πάγο - Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας, LL.M.
- Σπουδές στη Νομική Σχολή Αθηνών (πτυχίο νομικής) και στα Πανεπιστήμια Nottingham Αγγλίας (Master of Laws) και Essex Αγγλίας (Diploma, Erasmus).
- Ασκεί μαχόμενη και συμβουλευτική δικηγορία στην Αθήνα από το 1994, Δικηγόρος παρ’ Αρείω Πάγω.
- Ομιλεί την αγγλική και την γαλλική γλώσσα.
- Δημοσιογράφος, μέλος Ενώσεως Συντακτών Αθηναϊκού Τύπου και Συνεργάτης Ξένου Τύπου Υπουργείου Τύπου και Μ.Μ.Ε.
Ο Χρήστος Ηλιόπουλος γεννήθηκε στην Αθήνα στις 28-4-1968. Τελείωσε το 1986 με Άριστα (19 και 6/12) το 10ο (Πρότυπο) Λύκειο Αθηνών και την ίδια χρονιά πέτυχε στις Πανελλήνιες εξετάσεις την εισαγωγή του στη ΝομικήΣχολή Αθηνών.
Αποφοίτησε από το Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών το 1991 με βαθμό «ΛίανΚαλώς». Κατά την διάρκεια της φοίτησής του εκπόνησε εργασίες και παρακολούθησε συνέδρια, στην οργάνωση πολλών εκ των οποίων συμμετείχε. Στον κύκλο μαθημάτων Διεθνούς και Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαίου αξιολογήθηκε με Άριστα.
Κατά την ακαδημαϊκή περίοδο 1990-91 απoτέλεσε μέλος της ομάδας έρευνας του Τομέα Διεθνούς Δικαίου του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών, υπό την καθοδήγηση του ακαδημαϊκού, καθηγητού του Δημοσίου Διεθνούς Δικαίου κ. Εμμανουήλ Ρούκουνα, από τον οποίο έλαβε και συστατική επιστολή.
Το 1989 επελέγη με βάση την βαθμολογία του και την γνώση ξένων γλωσσών να λάβει μέρος στο πρόγραμμα υποτροφιών ERASMUS της Ευρωπαϊκής Κοινότητος. Παρακολούθησε το α’ εξάμηνο της περιόδου 1989/90 της Νομικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστημίου Essex Αγγλίας και εξετάσθηκε με επιτυχία στα μαθήματα EEC Law, Common Law και Public Law, ανέλαβε εθελοντική ερευνητική εργασία και έλαβε τον αντίστοιχο τίτλο σπουδών. Συμμετείχε επίσης σε εκπαιδευτικά ταξίδια στην έδρα της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενώσεως στις Βρυξέλλες, όπου είχε επαφές με κοινοτικούς αξιωματούχους, καθηγητές και άλλους ευρωπαίους φοιτητές.
Από τον Οκτώβριο του 1991 παρακολούθησε το μεταπτυχιακό πρόγραμμα του Πανεπιστημίου Nottingham Αγγλίας στο Διεθνές και Κοινοτικό Δίκαιο και του απονεμήθηκε το πτυχίο Master Of Laws.
Εκεί διδάχθηκε :
n Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοτικό Δίκαιο, (καθηγητής Stephen Weatherill).
n Δίκαιο Ανταγωνισμού, (καθηγητής Stephen Weatherill).
n Διεθνές Δίκαιο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων, (καθηγητής D.J. Harris).
n Δίκαιο της Θάλασσας.
n Δίκαιο μεταφορών αγαθών διά θαλάσσης.
Εκπόνησε την πτυχιακή του διατριβή με θέμα τον ανταγωνισμό στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και την συμβατότητα των συγχωνεύσεων επιχειρήσεων με το καθεστώς προστασίας του ανταγωνισμού της κοινοτικής εννόμου τάξεως.
Το καλοκαίρι του 1990 παρακολούθησε στο Παρίσι μαθήματα γαλλικής στην AllianceFrancaise και του απονεμήθηκε Certificat.
Ομιλεί και γράφει την αγγλική και την γαλλική γλώσσα. Είναικάτοχος First Certificate in English (Cambridge), Proficiency (Michigan) και Sorbonne (Paris IV).
Το καλοκαίρι του 1992 εργάσθηκε ως ασκούμενος στην αγγλική Δικηγορική Εταιρεία Εking Manning (ήδη Edwards Geldard), την οποία πλέον αντιπροσωπεύει στην Ελλάδα σε νομικές υποθέσεις.
Από το 1993 είναι μέλος του Δικηγορικού Συλλόγου Αθηνών και ασκεί έκτοτε γενική δικηγορία. Διατηρεί το δικηγορικό του γραφείο στην Αθήνα (Λεωφ. Αλεξάνδρας 105) και είναι δικηγόρος παρ’ Αρείω Πάγω και παρά τω Συμβουλίω της Επικρατείας. Έχει εμπειρία νομικής έρευνας, επικοινωνίας με εντολείς, σύνταξης δικογράφων, δικαστικής παραστάσεως και εκπροσωπήσεως ενώπιον αστικών, ποινικών και διοικητικών δικαστηρίων στην Αθήνα, αλλά και σε δικαστήρια όλης της Ελλάδος. Έχει χειριστεί υποθέσεις που καλύπτουν όλο το φάσμα του δικαίου, (ιδίως αστικό, διοικητικό, ποινικό, κοινοτικό κλπ). Έχει επίσης εμπειρία και από το δίκαιο άλλων χωρών.
Μεγάλο μέρος των εντολέων του είναι Έλληνες ομογενείς, αλλά και αλλοδαποί, από ΗΠΑ, Καναδά, Αυστραλία, Μεγ. Βρετανία κ.α. τους οποίους καλύπτει σε όλες τις νομικές τους υποθέσεις στην Ελλάδα, αλλά και εν σχέσει προς νομικές υποθέσεις τους στην αλλοδαπή.
Είναι δημοσιογράφος, ανταποκριτής ελληνόφωνων προγραμμάτων εξωτερικού (ΗΠΑ, Αυστραλίας, Καναδά), μέλος της Ενώσεως Συντακτών Αθηναϊκού Τύπου και Συνεργάτης Ξένου Τύπου του Υπουργείου Τύπου και Μ.Μ.Ε., γράφει σε εφημερίδες του εξωτερικού και του εσωτερικού και συμμετέχει σε ραδιοφωνικά προγράμματα. Είναι δημοσιογράφος και νομικός σύμβουλος στο Ομογενειακό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων.
Το 1997 επελέγη και έλαβε μέρος στην σειρά σεμιναρίων της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής της Ε.Ε. «Β’ Κύκλος Ενημέρωσης και Εκπαίδευσης στελεχών σε θέματα ευρωπαϊκής ενοποίησης», λαμβάνοντας ανάλογο πιστοποιητικό.
Έχει εκπληρώσει τις στρατιωτικές του υποχρεώσεις υπηρετώντας ως έφεδρος υπαξιωματικός (Λοχίας ΔΒ).