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The operation of trust under Greek law

Since Article 1923(1) of the Hellenic Civil Code states that the testator may oblige the heir to surrender the inheritance acquired or a percentage thereof to another (the beneficiary under trust) after a specific event or a specific point in time. As is clear from this provision, in addition to making a person his direct heir who immediately acquires the inheritance after his death, the testator can also designate an indirect general successor, the beneficiary under trust, who is heir subject to a deadline/condition precedent, which is met after the death of the testator, which corresponds to a deadline/condition subsequent...

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The legal treatment of joint bank accounts for inheritance law purposes under Greek law

The joint bank account is an account with several joint beneficiaries who retain some degree of autonomy so that each of them can withdraw and deposit monies themselves, without the consent of the other joint beneficiary. Under Articles 2 and 3 of Law 5638/1932, Law 2961/2001, Law 117 of the Law introducing the Hellenic Civil Code and Article 488 of the Hellenic Civil Code, when one of the joint beneficiaries of the joint bank account passes away, the amount remaining is not inherited by the heirs of the deceased but goes to the joint beneficiary of the joint account, without any...

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The rules of intestate succession under Greek law

Where there is an inheritance under Greek law without a will (intestate succession) there are six ranks which are used to determine who is called upon to inherit the estate first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, so that they can either accept or relinquish the inheritance. If the first rank is called, the ranks below will be disqualified. In other words, if the heirs of the first class are called upon to inherit, the heirs in second, third, fourth, and other ranks are excluded. If the heirs of one rank decline or forfeit their inheritance in any manner, the...

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Legal guardianship under Greek law

Legal guardianship is regulated by Articles 1666 to 1694 of the Hellenic Civil Code and is defined as responsible handling of issues of legal importance for an adult who has such manner of disease (mental or intellectual disorder or physical disability) that de facto he is unable to handle his own affairs. It must be ordered by a court (and therefore no person can be placed in legal guardianship on the basis of the private will/intention of another) which alone can determine its form and extent. The Single-Member Court of First Instance at the assisted person’s normal place of residence...

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Executor of will : who can this person be, and what are his powers?

Article 2017 of the Hellenic Civil Code states that an executor for the will is only to be appointed by the testator and only if there is a will. Appointment is made exclusively by the testator of the estate and cannot be dependent on the opinion of a third party (such as an heir). The appointment of the executor of the will cannot be done by means of an inter vivos deed entered into by the testator but only by the will and consequently in that regard it follows the terms and conditions under which a will is valid. Article 2018...

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Setting up a branch of a foreign company in Greece

Foreign direct investment has become a common practice and setting up a branch is a common way of doing business in Greece for foreign business entities. The establishment of branches of foreign companies in Greece is governed by the provisions of Greek Law 4919/2022 (articles 36-45). According to the above provisions, the types that can establish a branch in Greece (article 16 of L 4919/2022) are: A) foreign companies with registered offices in a member state of the European Union (EU) in the form of a company limited by shares S.A., a limited liability company and a limited partnership with limited...

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Conditions under Greek law for the validity of a will which has been made abroad

In the case of a will which was prepared in a country other than Greece, what needs to be clarified is the applicable law under which the validity of the will is ascertained. According to Article 11 of the Hellenic Civil Code, a legal transaction is formally valid in procedural terms if it is in accordance with either the law governing its content or the law of the place where it is entered into or the national law of all the parties. An example of such a transaction is a will. Under the provisions of Article 28 of the Hellenic Civil...

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Rules governing the publication of wills under Greek law

From the moment the testator passes away, there is a need to obtain probate for any will he may have left behind. This is a public policy requirement and the reasons which require probate for the testator’s last will relate to the security of transactions and the fate of individual assets. Grant of probate for the will is in the public interest and for that reason any provision of the will which precludes the granting of probate is null and void. Articles 1769, 1774 and 1775 of the Hellenic Civil Code establish a public law obligation for the holder of a...

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Will formalities and enforceability of foreign wills under Greek law  

The Hellenic Civil Code recognizes both ordinary types of wills and extraordinary types of wills relating to special cases. The most common types of wills are holograph wills (Article 1721 of the Hellenic Civil Code), public wills (Article 1724 of the Hellenic Civil Code) and mystic wills (Article 1738 of the Hellenic Civil Code). The holograph will (Article 1721 of the Hellenic Civil Code) is the simplest way of expressing the last statement of the testator’s intentions since it is prepared by the testator himself without the presence of witnesses. In order to be valid, it must (a) be written (and...

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The main differences between a subsidiary and a branch of a foreign company

A branch has no separate legal personality. Although it acquires a tax registration number and may also acquire a social security number for employing workforce, the lack of separate legal personality means that the legal entity which has the rights and obligations vis-à-vis third parties (debtors, creditors, employees, the state) will be the foreign company i.e. the head office in the home country. In the case of a subsidiary, the “parent” entity owns shares in a separate newly incorporated company which will be subject to rights and obligations in its own name. This means that the local business will be...

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