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Will - Making in Greece

          Throughout one’s life, a person acquires various assets, which can be either real-estate property objects or various valuable items such as works of art or vehicles, or other personal items. These assets after his death are passed to his or her legal heirs. However, it is not uncommon for some cases when inheritance issues generate great intra-family frictions and tensions that can result in the conflict, when members of the same family are falling into alienation, or even worse, in painful litigation of property. Other times, the heirs may be some individuals who are in lack of credibility or affection from the testator himself, hence he does not want his assets to fall into the hands of his legitimate heirs, which may lead to excluding them from his last will and testament.

            Such issues of personal, property and inheritance kind can be easily avoided through drafting of a will. A will or last will and testament is the written reflection of the inheritant’s desire to dispose his assets to the people he wishes. Thus, there are three basic types of will in Greece, the Holographic Will, the Public Will, and the Secret (Mystic) Will. There is also, of course, a so-called "force-majeure will" drawn up in emergency situations.

          Holographic Will is the simplest type of will and should be handwritten by the testator in their language of preference. The will is dated and signed and is free of any legal formalities. The testator should give it to a public notary (Συμβολαιογράφος), a lawyer, or to any other person where it can be kept safely. It goes without saying, of course, that to write a holographic will one must know how to read and write.

          If a testator wishes to draft a Public Will, he declares verbally his last will in presence a public notary and in the presence of three witnesses, or a second notary and one witness. The witness may not be a relative of the testator, a beneficiary in the will, or the appointed executor of the will. The content of the will should not be disclosed while the testator is alive. If the testator does not speak Greek fluently an interpreter can be used.

          A Mystic, or Secret, Will is handwritten or typed by the testator or another person and bears the signature of the testator. The testator hands the will to a public notary or a lawyer in the presence of three witnesses (or a second notary and one witness), making an oral declaration that the document is their Final Will and Testament. The document should be sealed in the presence of the testator and of the witnesses.

          It should be noted also that Wills may be cancelled or modified at any time, and a new will automatically cancels a previous one.

            Furthermore, in order for the will to enter into force, after the death of the testator, it must be published in the competent court authority, which should be actually done by the person who holds the will.

            The Law Office of Svetlana Kasatkina – Kouskou provides with credibility and confidentiality all the necessary legal information and services in general for the preparation of wills either in Greek or in Russian or in any other language, but also for the publication of any discovered will in the competent court so that it could enter into force, and to issue a certificate of inheritance to the heir concerned.

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