Partnering international businesses in Greece
In stark contrast to what applies in other countries like the United States, in Greece the minimum forced inheritance share (“nomimi mira”) limits a testator’s right to dispose of his estate freely.
The underlying aim of the minimum forced inheritance share is the safeguarding of the testator’s close relatives and spouse.
Pursuant to Articles 1825 to 1845 of the Greek Civil Code 1825 (CC), a testator is prohibited from excluding from his will his children, spouse and parents. A part of the testator’s estate must be distributed to the above relatives. The minimum forced inheritance share must be equivalent to half of the inheritance share that each individual family member would be legally entitled to, had the testator died intestate (i.e. without leaving a will). However, the minimum forced inheritance share is reduced accordingly where any contributions that the testator may have granted to each of the above heirs while living, are found.
The law relating to the minimum forced inheritance share applies in the following circumstances:
A testator can disinherit a relative when the latter has committed a seriously unjust act against the former or/and has lived his life unethically. A spouse may be disinherited if a valid reason for divorce exists for which the spouse was liable.
If a testator disinherits a relative by will or bequeaths to a relative less than is provided by the minimum forced inheritance share, the relative has the right to claim (1) the percentage missing in order to complete his share or (2) the entire minimum forced inheritance share if he has been disinherited completely.
In addition, if the testator’s inheritance at the time of his death is not enough to cover the minimum forced inheritance share, an inheritor is entitled to pursue the revocation and/or rescission of any gifts that may have been granted by the testator in life so as to claim his minimum forced inheritance share from those gifts.
In conclusion, certain legal consequences arise if the minimum forced inheritance share is not bequeathed in the event of a will. The will is effectively nullified and deemed void as far as the minimum forced inheritance share is concerned.