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Valmas & Associates - Athens Law Office - Greek Law Firm / Δικηγορικό Γραφείο Ιωάννη Βαλμά
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Golden Visa Greece Program

For full information please visit: https:www.athenslawoffice.com/golden-visa.html

Outline of Greek Golden Visa Legal Assistance we Provide

> Find a suitable property or properties on behalf of our clients
> Provide assistance throughout the negotiation process and negotiate terms on the clients' behalf
> Issue a Greek Tax ID
> Open a bank account (where physical presence of the beneficiary is mandatory)
> Perform and conclude the real estate Due Diligence process by making all relevant checks to Land Registries, and approving documentation and certificates
> Draft any PoAs, pre-sale and sale agreements
> Ensure secure transfer of funds and correct form of the transfers
> Assist in issuing tax payments for public Authorities on behalf of the clients
> Conclude the signing of the contracts of purchase
> Commence Registration of the title deeds at the Land Registry & the Cadastral Authorities
> Undertake all translations of the official documents the clients shall be requested by us to provide in order to commence with the applications for the RP
> Prepare and compile the documentation for the residence permit application submission before the authorities
> Manage the Golden Visa process in the stages in between and receive the final RP
> Act as permanent tax representative on an annual basis (at extra cost)
> Act as depository of all the documents regarding the property (at extra cost)
> Manage the property after the purchase, achieving sustainable rental income for the new owners
> Provide continuous support after the permit has been acquired
> File for renewal of residence permits just before the first five years have lapsed

Golden Visa Greece - We can perform most steps on Your Behalf
On clients' request the entire process can be concluded by an authorized Proxy under a Power of Attorney, which means that in principle the client is not required to be present in Greece for a long period of time. However, the physical presence of the client is mandatory during:
a) the opening of a Greek bank account and
b) the collection of the biometric data from the local authority responsible for granting the RP.
This means that, the investor is given the option to conclude the process with two visits to Greece. one visit for opening the Greek bank account and granting us a PoA for concluding the process and one visit where the client and the rest of the applicants for the Greek Golden Visa will need to be present on a certain date for providing their biometric data to the authority granting the RP.
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The following is a case study by Ioannis Valmas on tanker incidents, oil spills, pollution of the marine environment and the tools provided by International Maritime Law to counter the occurrence of such accidents as well as the lessons learned from the past. This study coincides with a tanker accident that occurred in the Saronic Gulf in Greece recently resulting in an oil spill. For more info see here: https://www.athenslawoffice.com/blog/case-study-tanker-accidents-and-lessons-to-be-learned.

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Golden VISA Greece Program - Buy a House in Greece and earn a Permanent Residence Permit
By Valmas & Associates - Greek Law firm
https://www.athenslawoffice.com/golden-visa.html

Greek Golden Visa Program's Benefits:
- 250,000 EURO per family
- Travel throughout Schengen without any need for Visa
- All family members including children up to 21, spouses and their parents
- Permanent Residency from the first day of the application
- VISA free travel to all Schengen countries - No need to fly from Greece to another Schengen country
- No need to stay in Greece to retain the permit, only keep ownership

Criteria

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet the following preconditions:

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT RESIDENCE:

Applicants should invest in Real Estate €250,000 for a residential property, or equivalent investment in either a time-sharing agreement with a duration of at least 10 years or lease of at least 10 years of hotel facilities or furnished homes in combined tourist facilities. This way they shall be entitled to the Greek Golden Visa.


Services Offered

1. Property Selection Assistance
Unlike real estate agencies that sell properties of a smaller value for 250,000 EUR we ensure that you buy a property that is worth equal or more than 250,000 EUR. We ensure that the titles of the property you decide to purchase are fully legitimate and clean with all relevant documents up to date (building permits, titles of ownership, architectural blueprints, energy certificates etc).

Also we can search for properties from a series of independent private sellers and realtors sometimes helping you avoid paying realtors fees which amount to 2 percent of the property value! This means you are not locked with one realtor with limited selection options. Instead you are free to choose from a vast array of options.

We will negotiate on your behalf so that you get a higher value property for a lesser amount.

Most realtors will sell cheaper houses at bloated prices. We ensure you avoid getting a property that will not be worth the amount you spent.

It is our policy to advise against properties that are overpriced or not within the context of a fair commercial value.

2. Property Purchase Transaction
Our law firm will prepare the necessary certificates for the completion of the sale.
In essence,
• it will issue a tax registry number on your behalf
• it will assist you with opening a bank account in a Greek bank where the funds need to be transferred to before the purchase is made
• it will ensure the ownership titles of the property in the Land Registry Office and the Cadastre are clear of any burdens, encumbrances etc.
• it will issue the necessary certificates for the purchase
• it will co-draft and proceed with all required notary deeds for the completion of the purchase

3. Residence Permit Related Services
Once the purchase procedure has been completed, we shall proceed with the necessary actions for the issuance of your residence permit.
• We will gather all relevant documents related to the purchase of the property, that are required for the issuance of the residence permit
• We will submit the application to the public authorities and collect the temporary permit
• We will be in contact with the authorities during all stages of your application until the issuance of the final residence permit
• We will receive and forward the permit to you and your family

Procedure

 Greek Golden Visa Issuing  (Real Estate Investment) - Golden Visa Greece Procedure
• Application is submitted for an entry VISA along with a Letter to the Consular office by our firm and a series of documents and certificates.
• We provide assistance in obtaining Tax ID and opening a Greek bank account in the name of the client for the purposes of the real estate purchase.
• We undertake all aspects of the property purchase including checks for burdens and liens on the property ensuring you get a clean title of ownership.
• We assist and supervise the drafting of the property sale agreement
• We collect all certificates from the Land Registry, Cadastral Authorities, Notaries and guide you through the final documents required for the Permit.
• We submit all applications to the relevant authorities for the issuing of your Residence Permit.
• We receive the 5 year Permit on your behalf.
• Every 5 years we submit a renewal application to the authorities on the basis you possess the property at the time of renewal.

F A Q.

1. Can i share my investment with another individual?
Only spouses can share the investment and jointly own the property of a total value of 250.000 EUR.

In all other instances of shared ownership, the right of residence is granted only if the amount invested by each co-owner is a minimum 250,000 EUR.

For example, two families can have two separate permits for all members of each family only if they purchase jointly a property of value equal or higher to 500,000 EUR.

 2. How do i issue a VISA to visit Greece? 
Documents Required:
• 3 color passport photos
• Passport
• Travel health insurance
• Proof of professional capacity
• Bank statements of at least 250,000 EUR.
• Income Tax Declaration that has been issued in the last year.
• Hotel booking to prove the accommodation of the applicant during the visit to Greece.
• Round trip flight booking.
• Invitation letter from our law office*
• Visa application


* In order to issue the invitation letter we need :
1. Passport scan with personal details, showing previous visas
2. Bank statement showing minimum 250,000 Euros or equivalent currency
3. Permanent residency address
4. Proof of professional capacity

No need for a Visa in order to visit Greece if you carry a passport from the following countries :
Vatican City, San Marino, Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, USA, Japan, Israel, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Barbados, Bahamas, Brunei, New Zealand, Nicaragua, South Korea, Honduras, Uruguay, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Singapore, Chile.

3. Can i obtain more than one properties?

Yes and you are entitled to the residence permit as long as their combined value is equal or greater to 250,000 EUR.

4. Which family members are entitled to the Residence Permit?
• Spouses
• Children up to 21 years old (they can renew for another 3 years once they reach 21)
• Parents of both spouses

5. Who deals with the process for the permits?
Our law office does handle the whole process. We handle all the necessary paperwork on behalf of the applicant:
a. The application process for the initial residence permit,
b. The submission of any additional required documentation that may be required.
c. The collection of the receipt of the residence permit.

We also deal with all aspects regarding the purchase of the property including drafting of the contracts with a notary, checking the titles for problems, burdens, encumbrances.

Under current law you will need to provide bio-metric data (fingerprints) to the authority so we shall escort you there.

As soon as we submit the residency application you will receive a confirmation receipt that serves as a one year provisional residency permit (a blue certificate). You can reside legally in the country for the duration of the confirmation receipt (i.e. one year) and you are entitled to all the benefits of the final permit. In the mean time (two to four months) you will receive the final residency permit certificate.

6. Where can i travel with my residence permit?
You may travel with your passport and the residence permit to all countries that are part of the European Union, as well as, to all countries that are in the Schengen Area:
EU Countries you may freely travel to and from:
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Finland.
Schengen Countries you may freely travel to and from:
Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Important Note: After the residence permit has been issued, you may also travel to any Schengen country directly from your country. You do not need to go through Greece first.

7. What are my tax obligations as a property owner in Greece?
You file an annual tax report. All property owners must do so.

This means you will pay a yearly property tax. For a standard 3 bedroom flat in Athens and its suburbs the annual tax is approximately 500 - 1000 EUR per year. Greek real estate ownership cost is among the lowest in Europe.

If you rent your property you will pay approximately 15% towards income tax.

http://www.athenslawoffice.com

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Greek Golden Visa Programs have been a continuous success since their inception by the Greek Government several years ago. Our law firm can assist overseas investors on all aspects of the process. Our Greek Golden Visa presentation is available for download here:

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BREXIT, EU & INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION:

1. The Legal Instruments Utilized on International Arbitration in the UK:

A very important point that needs to be made as an introductory note is that the legal instruments governing international arbitration at the London seat are:
1. the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards 1958 and
2. the English Arbitration Act 1996, the law that provides the framework for international and domestic arbitration in the UK
Both are not connected to EU law and the Act of 1996 does not incorporate EU law in any sense whatsoever.

Also, English Law has traditionally been the law of choice for contracts and International Agreements particularly Contract Law which has remained virtually untouched by EU legislation and developed/evolved through the passage of centuries.

In the light of the above it seems unlikely that London will be affected as an International dispute resolution centre of choice.

2. Strengths of London Arbitration Seat:

London is one of the most reputable, popular and trusted arbitral seats in the world. The reasons for this reputation have never depended on membership of the EU.
The reasons for this have been the following:
a. The UK arbitration legislation is modern, comprehensive, concise and clear, as it provides a framework for resolving a dispute by arbitration, it does respect the parties’ choice of arbitration, limits judicial intervention and is in line with international treaties.
b. The UK possesses a high level of experienced, independent and efficient judiciary
c. The UK provides the ability to parties to be represented in arbitration by lawyers from anywhere in the world
London has all of these important qualities. None requires membership of the EU or is dependent on it. Also, other leading centres for international arbitration, including Hong Kong and Singapore and those in Switzerland have thrived wholly outside of the EU.

3. The Example of Switzerland:

International Dispute Resolution in Asia and Switzerland have been thriving despite the fact that neither Hong Kong, Singapore or Switzerland have acceded to the EU.
Switzerland is a neutral country and hosts many international organizations, fora or dispute settlement institutions/centres, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), the International Air Transport Association, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS/TAS), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and major international sports organizations such as FIFA and UEFA.
Many international contracts referring to arbitration in Switzerland are governed by Swiss law, as a neutral law, easily accessible for lawyers. Contract negotiators and drafters from all over the world are attracted by the clear and concise legal framework Swiss law provides.
UK and London provide equally the same quality in resolving international disputes with the London Court of International Arbitration.
In essence the UK can keep its leading position as an International Arbitration Centre at the dawn of Brexit and for years to come.

Published by Ioannis Valmas on: http://kluwerarbitrationblog.com/2016/07/08/guest-posts-on-brexit/ and http://www.athenslawoffice.com/blog/brexit-eu-international-arbitration

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GENERAL INFORMATION ON GREEK INHERITANCE LAW:

Valmas & Associates - Greek Law Firm is a law practice with legal experience for clearing up Greek inheritances on behalf of expatriates and foreign nationals.

Greek Inheritance Law is regulated by the Hellenic (Greek) Civil Code, Art. 1710 – 2035. It is similar to French and German Inheritance law, but it is radically different from English and American inheritance law.

Our legal assistance in Greek inheritance issues includes tracing property title anywhere in Greece; investigating the legal and actual status of the property to be inherited, providing full legal reports including documentation & evidence such as photographs.

Greek Inheritance Law (part of the Hellenic (Greek) Civil Code) provides the passing of the deceased's property to his legal heirs in two ways: by virtue of a will or through the rules related to intestacy.

1. WILLS:
In case that the deceased has left a Greek will, the bequest of the inherited property, i.e. the transfer of the property under the names of his heirs, appointed by the deceased, and to what property parts they are entitled to, is arranged according to the provisions of the Greek will. The law provides three types of Greek wills:

• The Holographic Will: It is written entirely by the hand of the testator, who writes the date of the Will, and signs same, verifying its content.

• The Public Will: It consists of the testator's last will and testament and is executed before a Notary Public under the presence of three witnesses.

• The Mystic/Secret Will: It is validly executed as follows: The testator delivers the document to the Notary Public, stating that the document consists of his last Will and testament, under the presence of three witnesses.

Upon the passing away of the testator, the will has to be probated before the competent Court or before the competent Embassy or Consulate in order for the Greek Will's content to become known to anyone. Every person holding a Greek will is obliged to take care of its probate. The Greek will is probated, only if the original document can be submitted before the competent Probate Court or Consulate, regardless of its validity. Copies of wills cannot be probated.

2. INTESTACY RULES:
In case that the deceased has not left a will, or in case that the will has been nullified or in case that the will settles only parts of the deceased's inheritance, the succession is settled by law through the rules of intestacy.

As aforesaid, If the deceased has not left a will of any kind, or the will is void for any reason or settles only a part of his/her property, this person is considered to be in intestacy, and its succession is regulated by provisions of the law. The legal heirs are organized by the law in categories, called “classes” or "ranks". Classes of heirs exclude the classes below them i.e. class 1 excludes class 2 and so forth.

1. The first class includes children and grandchildren of the deceased. The latter are called to the inheritance only if the former have predeceased.

2. In the second class shall be called together the parents of the deceased, his brothers and sisters, as well as children and grandchildren of his predeceased brothers and sisters. Parents and brothers and sisters shall inherit by equal portions while the children or grandchildren of predeceased brothers and sisters per stripes. Children of a predeceased brother or sister shall exclude grandchildren of the same stripes.

Half-brothers and half-sisters when concurring with parents or full brothers and sisters or children or grandchildren of the latter (of full brothers and sisters) shall receive one half of the portion attributable to full brothers and sisters. Children or grandchildren of predeceased half-brothers and half-sisters shall also receive one half portion.

3. In the third class shall be called the grandfathers and grandmothers of the deceased and among the descendants of such grandparents their children and grandchildren.

Children inherit by equal portions and exclude grandchildren of the other stripes. Grandchildren inherit per stripes.

4. In the fourth class shall be called the great grandfathers and the great grandmothers of the principal.

Great grandfathers and great grandmothers living at the time of devolution shall inherit by equal portions irrespective of whether or not they belong to the same or to different lines.

A surviving spouse shall be called as heir in an intestacy together with the other relatives of first rank for one fourth and with the relatives of other ranks for one half of the estate. The spouse shall in addition receive as accretion, independently of the rank of his calling, the furniture, utensils, clothes and other similar domestic objects that were being used either by the surviving spouse alone or by both spouses. However, where there are children of the spouse who died, the needs of such children shall also be taken into consideration in so far as this is prescribed by special circumstances or on grounds of indulgence.

5. In the fifth class, where there are no relatives of the first, second, third and fourth rank a surviving spouse shall be called as heir in intestacy for the whole of the estate.

6. In the sixth class in he absence of all the above, the State inherits the estate of the deceased.

ACCEPTING THE GREEK INHERITANCE:
Greek Inheritance Law does not provide of a specific deadline for accepting an inheritance. On the contrary, the law provides a specific deadline for the renouncement of the Greek inheritance right on a deceased's Greek estate. This deadline expires within four (4) months upon the deceased's passing or after the Greek will's probate by the competent Court or Consulate. Said deadline expires a year after the deceased's passing or after the Will's probate, in case that the deceased's last domicile was abroad or if his heir became aware of the passing while he was residing abroad.

After the passing of the above deadlines for renouncement, it is conferred that the heir has accepted the estate and has substituted into the rights and obligations arising from the Greek Inheritance. The heir has the right to accept the Greek Estate by stating clearly that he accepts same, finalizing the Acceptance of Inheritance proceedings. However, in case that the Greek Inheritance consists of real estate property, the Acceptance of Inheritance is accomplished through the execution of an Acceptance of Inheritance Deed before a Notary Public, which has to be registered before the competent Greek Land Registry (Ypothikofilakeio/ Υποθηκοφυλακείο) of the property's location and in some cases maybe the Greek Cadastral Land Registry (Ktimatologio/ Κτηματολόγιο) as well.


The heirs, (in intestacy or by virtue of a Will), must file an inheritance tax statement within 6 months, if Greece domiciled, or within 12 months, if they live abroad. The time limit for the submission of the tax statement in principle begins as of the passing; and/or the Greek will's probate date.

The inheritance tax obligation is subject to an assessment of the Estate's tax value in consideration of consanguinity levels to the deceased and applicable tax exemptions.

The procedure of the Probate and the Acceptance of an Greek Inheritance, may be accomplished through a Special Power of Attorney to a specialized Greek Lawyer, like Valmas & Associates - Greek Law Firm.

MINIMUM FORCED INHERITANCE SHARE (Nomimi Mira/Νόμιμη Μοίρα)
In Greece the minimum forced inheritance share (“Nomimi Mira/ Νόμιμη Μοίρα”) employed by the Hellenic (Greek) Civil Code so that it limits a testator’s right to dispose of his estate freely.
The underlying purpose of the minimum forced inheritance share is the safeguarding of the testator’s close relatives and spouse.
In practice, according to the Hellenic Civil Code, a testator is prohibited from excluding from his will his children, spouse and parents. A part of the testator’s estate must be distributed to the above relatives. The minimum forced inheritance share must be equivalent to half of the inheritance share that each individual family member would be legally entitled to, had the testator died intestate (i.e. without leaving a will). However, the minimum forced inheritance share is reduced accordingly where any contributions that the testator may have granted to each of the above heirs while living, are found.


Please contact us for more information on our services, rates and cost for advice and representation.

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Buy or Sell a House in Greece - Buying or Selling Property in Greece
Our Greek law practice can assist you in every step of the process of acquisition of real estate in Greece. Greece currently offers unprecedented opportunities both in terms of value and in terms of access to Schengen with respect to acquisitions of real estate over the value of 250.000 EUR via a Golden VISA Program.
Contact our lawyers for more information if you need to buy or sell a house or property in Greece.

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We can assist you get a police certificate from Greece. Copies of Criminal Records from the Greek Authorities are frequently requested for former residents of Greece who apply for residence to another (third) country. We can assist you in the process and have all necessary certificates issued and delivered to you.
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