Wills in Greece and their Publication

Article 1710 of the Greek Civil Code (GCC) provides for the disposition of an inheritance by will. There are three distinctive types of wills in Greece. Each type of will has unique characteristics.

In this article we shall discuss the particular traits of each type of will and offer a brief explanation as to how each of these wills is published. A will may be (1) self-written (2) public or (3) secret.

A self-written will is a will that has been written, dated and signed by the testator himself [01]GCC Article 1721. Such a will may be composed on any other material and by any other writing instrument besides a pen or paper i.e. it may be composed by mouth if the testator is disabled, on the bark of a tree, on animal skin, on a wall or by blood etc. [02]2nd Volume, 3rd edition Interpretation of the GCC pg.2192. Whoever is in possession of a self-written will is under a duty, upon being notified of the testator’s death, to immediately publish it in the First Instance Court of either the last residence of the testator or his own [03]GCC Article 1774. If the person who is in possession of the will resides abroad, he may present the will for publication at the Head of the Consular Office [04]Ibid. Article 1775; the former and the latter, in turn sign a document confirming that the will has been delivered to the latter.

A public will is drawn by a testator’s statement of his last act in the presence of a notary public and three witnesses or in the presence of two notaries and one witness [05]Ibid. Article 1724. A public will must contain the following information

[06]Ibid. Article 1732:

  • the date and location of its creation
  • the testator’s personal details which verify his identity
  • the names and addresses of the notary public(s) and the names, addresses and professional details of those who were present during the will’s signing
  • a declaration of the testator’s final act and a statement confirming that the obligations under Article 1730 AK have been adhered to

A notary public in possession of a public will is under a duty, upon being notified of the testator’s death, to send a copy of the will to the secretary of the competent First Instance Court responsible for the area in which the notary public resides[07]Ibid. Article 1769. The public will is published in the first meeting of the court [08]Ibid. Article 1769.

A secret will is a document that a testator delivers to a notary public in which the former orally states to the latter that this document contains his last act; three witnesses or two notaries and one witness must be present when the testator orally conveys this information [09]Ibid. Article 1738. Such a will consists of two separate documents: one is private , including the testator’s last act, and the other is public, composed by the notary public upon receiving the former document.

A notary public in possession of a will is under a duty, upon discovering of the testator’s death, to personally deliver the original copy to a public meeting of a Court of First Instance. The secret will is published during the meeting [10]Ibid. Article 1769.

Article 1770 GCC stipulates that prior to breaking the seals of a secret will, such a will is examined by the court in the presence of the notary public; the seals are verified as being intact. Whoever has a legitimate interest may examine the seals and be heard on the issue of whether they are intact.

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Iliana – Kalliopi Kokotini was born in 1989 in Athens, Greece. She is graduate of the Law School of Democritus University of Thrace, (University of Komotini), Greece. She also hands a Master’s degree (L.M.M.) from the Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini with specialization in Criminal Procedure.

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