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Dealing with inheritance matters from Crete

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  • Dealing with inheritance matters from Crete

    My partner, A, and I moved to Crete in 2006. Our house is free of debt, and jointly owned 50/50.

    In July 2018, A returned to the UK, due to rapidly deteriorating mental health Ė fronto-temporal lobe dementia. He lived in a care home for dementia patients until his death in May of this year.

    In July and August 2018, I transferred the capital in his UK bank account, some £30,000, to an account set up by his daughter H (who is administrator of his estate), in her name, to pay for residential care. Aís UK state pension has been paid into his UK account since 2016, when he turned 65. It took until this year for H to get Power of Attorney to enable her to access his account.

    We have identical Greek wills, both of which state that the surviving partner has the right to remain in the Greek property until death, or until he/she chooses to sell, when 50% of the sale proceeds is to be paid to the deceased partnerís children.

    The deceased partnerís children have to be registered as owners in the Greek court. They are also liable for Aís property tax payment, as inheritors of 50% of the property, which is about £350 for this year, the first instalment being due at the end of this month.

    In addition, the wills state that 50% of remaining money in the deceasedís accounts (world wide) be paid to the surviving partner, the other 50% being left to the deceased partnerís children.

    I informed H and her brother D in early June that I needed a Certified Copy of Aís Death Certificate, with an Apostille attached, to deal with matters here, ie tax, the property etc. I spelt out very carefully and clearly the reasons why I need the Certificate. It has not been provided, so my Greek lawyer wrote to H last week, stressing the importance of this document, as fines and complications could follow if it is not provided. So far, I have received no response.

    There are obviously many obstacles to overcome, due to Hís lack of response, despite many requests for information.

    I calculate that between July 2018 and May 2020, some £18,000 pounds in State Pension will have been paid into Aís account, in addition to a further £2,000 from a private pension with Legal and General.

    Legal and General wrote recently, detailing pension payments for the period July 2020 to June 2021, which leads me to believe that they have not been informed of Aís death. I have no idea whether his death has been registered regarding his State Pension.

    My question is, if I am entitled to 50% of Aís remaining money, would that be calculated as being on the date of his death, in May? Am I entitled to ask for evidence of the amount in his account at that time? I know that the £30,000 transferred in 2018 was used up quite quickly. Due to lack of his daughterís cooperation, can I ask his bank for this information, as and when I obtain a copy of his Death Certificate, or must this information come via H?

    I have been in limbo since May, due to Hís lack of communication. She has always been difficult to deal with, often jumping to wrong conclusions, and harbouring resentments against me and my children. I suspect that she has done very little, if anything, to sort out her fatherís affairs in the UK, and I can do nothing here in Crete without the Death Certificate.

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.
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  • #2

    Sorry to hear of your loss, and the difficulties you are now encountering.

    Death certificates can be obtained here: https://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-...ge-certificate and legalised by attaching an apostille here:

    You say daughter H is administering your late partner's uk estate.
    Has she obtained letters of administration from the probate court ? (search here https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate)
    If she has a grant of probate the bank will probably not pass over financial details to you unless you were married or in a civil partnership with your partner

    Is there a uk will?
    As your partner lived in the Uk for the last two years, presumably he was regarded as being domiciled in the UK?

    I think you will probably need proper advice from a lawyer used to dealing with estates with world wide assets.
    As you probably know greek inheritance laws are quite different to those of the UK


    • #3
      Thanks very much for your response, DES8. I will follow the links you have provided.
      There is no UK will, only the Greek one.
      I'm not sure about A's domicile, I know he is still registered as a foreigner in Athens for tax purposes.
      I will write again when I have investigated further.


      • #4
        Good morning.
        My search of the Death Certificate Register produced 'No Matching Results Found' (The latest available year to click on is 2019, although +/- 2 years can be added).
        The Probate site also due a blank.
        Any thoughts of how to proceed?


        • #5
          Most unusual that you can't trace a death certificate.
          If he passed within the past 6 months you may need to try the registry office local to where he died
          What date did your partner pass?
          I get the impression that he passed in May, so when did H obtain the Power of Attorney?
          The authority obtained from the PoA ceases on the donor's death, so from then on she has no right to access his accounts.

          Does his will nominate an executor?


          • #6
            A died on the 28th May this year.

            I'm not sure exactly when H obtained the PoA, I believe it was a matter of some weeks before his death. I know that it took a very long time to obtain, due to a backlog, and because of his mental state at the time of application, and was issued in London.

            Greek wills do not nominate an executor. The provisions in wills here are executed by the family, with the aid of a lawyer. This leads to a lot of Greek wills being contested, and cases taking a long time to be heard in the courts. We kept our identical wills as simple as possible, to avoid this happening. If H and D do not respond within 6 months of the death, ie by the 28th November, things will get a lot more complicated, with a possibility of fines, and a demand by the court for documentation.

            I asked H and D to contact my lawyer here, asking her to respresent them in Greece, ie giving her PoA. They have not contacted her. Like the Death Certificate and Apostille, this is required before any actions can be carried out regarding A's affairs in Greece.



            • #7
              From post 1:
              "My question is, if I am entitled to 50% of Aís remaining money, would that be calculated as being on the date of his death, in May?"
              Yes, less any expenses Am I entitled to ask for evidence of the amount in his account at that time? In the UK as a residuary beneficiary you are entitled to a copy of the final accounting reportI know that the £30,000 transferred in 2018 was used up quite quickly. Due to lack of his daughterís cooperation, can I ask his bank for this information, as and when I obtain a copy of his Death Certificate, or must this information come via H? Most unlikely the bank will give it to you. It should be in the final accounting

              I have been having a look around and think you should consider obtaining advice from a uk lawyer
              This is not a recommendation, but I found the explanations on this site quite comprehensible https://www.globalpropertyguide.com/...ce/Inheritance


              • #8
                Thank you DES8, that was a very interesting read.

                I am tracking the letter my lawyer sent to H (see post 1). For a week now, it has been stuck in a UK sorting office (it only took 2 days to reach the UK from Crete!!). If and when she receives it and responds, hopefully things will start moving. I think getting the Death Certificate and Apostille, followed by a grant of PoA to my lawyer, are the crucial steps at the moment. After that, I will request a copy of the final accounting report from H. If you think of anything else which may help the situation, I would appreciate hearing from you. For the moment, thank you for your input, and I will be in touch if/when something happens.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the update, and would appreciate being kept up dated as it might help others at a later date


                  • #10
                    'The authority obtained from the PoA ceases on the donor's death, so from then on she has no right to access his accounts.' Could you please tell me where I can find this in law?

                    H told me she sent the Death Certificates by registered post, over 2 weeks ago. No sign of them yet.



                    • #11
                      I think the legislation would come under the laws of agency.
                      The attorney acts as the agent for the donor.
                      An agent acts as if they are the principal.
                      According to common law if the principal dies the agent instantaneously loses that power.


                      • #12
                        H wouldnít have had authority to access the accounts under the PoA, but you may find that some financial institutions may release balances in accounts, under a certain amount, without letters of administration and get the person to sign an indemnity paper, which means the bank canít be held responsible for the actions. For example my late mums estate was under £1000 but i got the money paid into my account without the letters of administration as her estate was small. But i had to sign an indemnity paper obsolving the bank of any response-ability should there have been any dodgy going on. Each bank has different amounts so you should check the relevant banking institution to see what their limits were.


                        • #13
                          The Certified Death Certificates finally arrived, without an Apostille. I have applied and paid for an Apostille, which involves sending one copy to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and paying for a courier return. This is obviously causing more delays and expense.

                          I have written to H and D with details of the Property Tax payable by the end of this month. I also raised the question of Private and State Pension payments - see my first post. I again requested financial information concerning the balance in A's bank account at the time of his death. They still have not contacted the lawyer here regarding Power of Attorney.

                          I am now copying all correspondence with H and D to the lawyer here, to keep her informed of progress, or lack of it.

                          Is there any more I can do? Is there any other way to obtain the bank account information, other than via H and D?



                          • #14
                            If you were married to, or in a registered civil partnership with, your partner you could apply for letters of administration to settle his Uk estate.
                            With the LoA the bank would have to release the information about his accounts (and probably give you the balance as at the time of his passing)


                            • #15
                              My lawyer here in Crete has drawn up the document for H and D to sign, giving her Power of Attorney here in Greece (see my post of 24th September). Her question is, will a UK notary require separate PoA documents for each of them, or would they be able to jointly sign one document? If they are able to both sign one document, it will help to cut down expenses.


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