BUSINESS

Spike in waivers of inheritance

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Economy

The exhaustion of Greeks’ taxpaying capacity and the difficulties in meeting day-to-day expenses are leading to more and more citizens waiving inheritances, especially when they concern real estate assets.

Legal sources say that the phenomenon no longer only concerns people waiving inheritances due to the debts of the deceased (which they would have to pay), but has spread to those wishing to avoid the payment of the inheritance tax and the Single Property Tax (ENFIA), as well as expenses related to property maintenance.

According to the latest data available, in 2017 such waivers amounted to 130,000, while the definitive data will be issued soon, according to Justice Ministry sources. That figure is quite impressive, given that it is almost three times the number of inheritance waivers in 2016 (54,422), and is up by 333 percent on the 2013 figure.

This means that the state takes ownership of properties that cannot be utilized, as the fate of those assets remains unknown given that the state’s auction programs are fairly limited. For instance, in the first half of this month, the state will auction just three properties, after 15 assets went under the hammer over the previous fortnight but without any success.

It also remains unknown how many assets have come under state ownership as a result of confiscations and property concessions. What is certain is that all these properties are assets that will drop in value, which will make it even more difficult to find buyers for them in the future.

Every beneficiary has the right to waive an inheritance, except for the state. The deadline for waiving an inheritance is four months after the day a will is published. If there is no will, the four-month period starts on the day the person dies. However, if the deceased lived abroad or the heir has their main residence in another country, then the deadline for waiving an inheritance extends to 12 months.

The acceptance or waiver has to concern the entire inheritance, not parts of it.

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