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JOINT ACCOUNTS IN GREECE/GUESS WHAT...THE U.S. HEIRS DO NOT GET THE MONEY

In our 27 years of representing the Greek Americans, we often find that they open joint bank accounts in Greece with spouces, relatives, children. Very often this is done for convenience (so that when the account holder is in the U.S. someone in Greece can pay the bills, taxs, maintenance, etc...)

However, under Greek law 5638/1932 depending on the language on the account, the other account "owner" will take the money upon death and the heirs will get nothing. Clients should be careful not to have such survivorship clauses in Greek management accounts. The Greek law states as follows:

Οι κοινοί λογαριασμοί διέπονται από το νόμο 5638/1932. According to article 3 of law 5638/1932 governing joint accounts : "Διάθεσις της καταθέσεως δια πράξεως είτε εν ζωή είτε αιτία θανάτου δεν επιτρέπεται, οι δε κληρονόμοι του τελευτήσαντος, είτε εξ αδιαθέτου είτε εκ της διαθήκης συμπεριλαμβανωμένων και των αναγκαίων τοιούτων ως και της απόρου χήρας, ουδέν δικαίωμα κέκτηνται επί της καταθέσεως...". This means that the heirs of the deceased do not substitute him/her before the bank.

Furthermore, according to article 2 of law 4638/1932: "Επί των καταθέσεων τούτων δύναται να τεθή προσθέτως ο όρος ότι άμα τω θανάτω οιουδήποτε των δικαιούχων η κατάθεσις και ο εκ ταύτης λογαριασμός περιέρχεται αυτοδικαίως εις τους λοιπούς επιζώντας μέχρι του τελευταίου τούτων...". This means that this clause has been provided for, then the heirs/beneficiaries have NO RIGHT on the deposit/money.

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Hahalis & Kounoupis, P.C. - Greek Law Group
Phone: 610-628-1336
Toll Free: 877-509-4333
Fax: 610-691-8418

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Hahalis & Kounoupis, P.C. - Greek Law Group