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Hahalis & Kounoupis, P.C. - Greek Law Group
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December 2013 Archives

U.S. - Greek Estate Planning - One mistake - Huge losses

Planning your U.S. estate? Do you have significant U.S. and Greek assets? Well, under the intestacy law of many U.S. states, the surviving spouse is entitled to a percentage of 50%.This is not taxed against the $5,250.000 Federal Estate Tax Exemption. So for example if you have 6 million in U.S. assets, only 3 million will be subject to the Federal estate tax-if one spouse dies without a Will. However, as to the Greek assets, if Greek law applies (which it would if the person was domiciled in Greece and/or a Greek national as well) then, the surviving spouse would only get 25% of the Greek assets. That means that the U.S. Estate Tax Return may have to list as taxable 75% of the Greek assets - and the total non-spouse taxable U.S. estate may be over $5,250.000.

Seminar Program in Greece to Reform Greek Law

Mr. Kounoupis is currently involved in planning with the ABA International law section (as ABA Liaison to Greece and Vice Chair of the ABA U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee) a two day seminar/program in Athens Greece within the next 18 months. The program is being designed to look at a detailed/ comparative law analysis of Greek law and U.S. law in areas such as corporate law, litigation, real estate, government assistance and approved of business etc...

U.S. - Greek Bankruptcy Cases

We are involved in U.S. and Greek major international litigation involving the Greek Court recognition of U.S. Court Bankruptcy proceedings under the application of UNCITRAL law in Greece. A Greek - American may not be able to avoid a U.S. bankruptcy seizure of assets by transferring assets in Greece, under UNCITRAL law, a Greek Court may recognize a U.S. Bankruptcy Order including an Order for injunctive relief preserving assets.

U.S. Greek Estate Planning - The U.S. Estate Tax

We just finished planning a major U.S.-Greek estate by making sure that the Greek assets were gifted and/or disposed in a manner which maximized the U.S. Mutual Estate Tax Exemption; and preserved the maximum benefit vis a vis the client's U.S. and Greek assets under the current $5, 250.000 U.S. estate tax exemption. It must be remarked that the application of Greek inheritance laws must be considered in large estates since under Greek law, the surviving spouse will not get the percentage of assets raised in intestacy as under most U.S. states laws. In Greece the surviving spouse gets ¼ of the assets undivided. This may affect the application of the Federal Estate Tax Exemption; remembering that the U.S. Estate Tax Return must be filed disclosing world-well assets.

Hague Child Custody Case

We are successfully covered civil litigation in Greece under the Hague Treaty on a child kidnapping case resulting in a finding by the Greek Courts (Evelpidon Protodikio) that the child had to be returned to the U.S.. Substantial U.S.- based evidence and witnesses needed to be obtained, translated and presented to the Greek Courts. Our victory was over one of the most recognized Greek lawyers. Remember, Hague child kidnapping trials do not determine which parent gets the child. They determine in which country's courts the custody proceedings must take place.

Greek Injunctive Relief and Collecting Greek Judiciary

We are representing U.S. State (under the State Attorney General's office) with regard to multimillion dollar international litigation involving injunctive relief in Greece based on U.S Court litigation and judgments. As a general rule, we can obtain "asfalistika metra" -i.e. injunctive relief in Greece to freeze a Greek debtor from selling all assets under certain conditions. There are: a) a strong likelihood pf prevailing and getting a U.S. Court final and non appeal able judgment; and 2) provable danger of the judgment not being satisfied in Greece due to imminent sales etc...

International Employment Law Agreement Between Greece and U.S. Requires Special Care. Where can you Sue?

We just successfully handled a major U.S. Greek international employment matter. The matter involved a lawsuit against U.S. subsidiary of a Greek based corporation and Greek based holding company. The case involved complex issues of an international litigation and U.S. and Greek law as well as international jurisdiction, conflict of laws and choice of law rules.

THE GREEK LEGAL CRISIS-Reform of the Greek legal system

I have been speaking at "Doing business in Greece" programs and conferences since 1987. Look, we can present power points all we want but investors are more scared than ever to do business in Greece. A common statement in the press or in the boardroom is that "no sane person would invest in Greece."The legal system, both on the books and as applied and actually experienced is perhaps the biggest problem. Look at World Bank; IMF; OECD: World Justice Forum; State Department; recent Transparency International rankings; and international legal scholar and executive observations-putting Greece near the bottom in terms of legal system efficiency, transparency and uniform rule of law/predictability and compliance. Talk to hundreds of frustrated individuals, even Greek Americans, who have struggled to do in Greece what is done in the US easily and routinely. How do I know?

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

U.S. Offices:
20 East Broad Street 
Bethlehem, PA 18018
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New Jersey
1015 New Durham Road
Edison, NJ 08817
(By appointment only)
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Greece Offices:
18 Valaoritou Street
4th Floor
Athens, 10671
(By appointment only)
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10 Ermou Street
Thessaloniki, 54625
(By appointment only)
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Hahalis & Kounoupis, P.C. - Greek Law Group