The government is undertaking a legislative initiative to reform Inheritance Law in the near futureas announced by the Deputy Minister of Justice Ioannis Bougas, from the stage of the comparative law conference on “The role of the notary public in inheritance in European countries”, organized by Committee on European Affairs (CAE) of the World Union of Notaries (UINL) in co-operation with Notarial Association of the Court of Appeal of Thessaloniki (SSETH) and with the participation of notaries from 35 European countries.

“Over time, social and demographic changes have occurred, mostly common to all the countries of the European Union. The Law of Inheritance, as a continuation of the Union Law – Criminal and Deed-, performs an important social function. For this reason it must keep pace with modern social and economic conditions. There are reasons, therefore, that make modernization necessary and we are asked to consider its reformation”, pointed out Mr. Bougas.

The main axes of the planned reform of Inheritance Law

As the deputy minister explained, taking into account the modern conditions, but also the long-term application of the law in practice, as the main axes of the reform of inheritance law “we could identify the need to provide greater protection to certain persons who are not related by family relationship to the inherited, the adaptation of the provisions regulating hereditary succession to the changes that the institution of the family is undergoing, the expansion of the freedom available to him, the reformation of the law of legal destiny, but also of wills”.

“Inheritance law, as is well known, has not undergone significant changes and the reality, as it has been shaped today, requires its restructuring and reformation”, underlined Mr. Bougas, assuring the participants of the international conference that the conclusions reached “they will be useful for the Ministry of Justice, in the context of the restructuring and reformation of our inheritance law, which we will undertake in the near future”.

Regarding his presence at the conference, the deputy minister noted that it is a “very important scientific and professional initiative of the Association of Notaries”. “This is an extremely topical issue and for the first time I see at a conference a professional and scientific association approaching it from a comparative law point of view, seeing what applies to the same issue in other European countries that have roughly similar regulations,” he noted.

Regarding the digital transformation of justice, he assured that “at the Ministry of Justice we take into account all these parameters, aiming at the security of the procedures, in order to make it possible to secure the necessary institutional guarantees for respect for the rule of law, as well as the protection of human rights under the independent judicial function”.

“At the same time, however, we seek to facilitate all involved lawyers, judges, court officials, notaries and court officials. With the appropriate use of technological means, we seek to upgrade the services provided by the notary public as a public body that guarantees the legality of the process and in no case replace or limit its role in any other way”, he added.

The trend for new responsibilities for notaries in inheritance

Opening the proceedings of the conference, the president of the World Notarial Union, Lionel Galliez, referred to the work of the Notarial Academy, which is the forum for academic and practical reflection of the members of the Union, while he also spoke about the prevailing tendency in modern legal cultures to transfer responsibilities to notaries, in cases where there is no litigation and it is not necessary for judges to undertake them. “For several years now, in probate in Europe and around the world, we have seen a significant trend towards entrusting notaries with non-contentious tasks that were previously the responsibility of judges. In many European countries our status as public servants, our ethos and values ​​have convinced public authorities to transfer these new responsibilities to notaries public. This is a development accepted and even desired by judges who want to be able to focus on the contentious issues that are the core of their work. As proof of this common vision of judges and notaries, last November, at the general assembly of our Union, we signed a cooperation agreement with the International Union of Judges with the aim of promoting this development”, Mr. Galliez said -among other things.

“Notaries hold a central position in ensuring the smooth and fair transfer of property from generation to generation. Your input is critical to preventing conflicts and establishing legal certainty in inheritance disputes. At a time when the European Union promotes cross-border cooperation and harmonization of legal procedures, the role of the notary becomes even more important. The knowledge and expertise of the notary are necessary for the management of the complex issues that arise in transnational inheritance cases”, said the head of the Court of First Instance of Thessaloniki, Petros Alikakos, in his greeting.

“Inheritance is a very important capital, it affects a person’s life from the moment he decides how to divide his property until the last moment when this property ends up in his heirs. It is very important to be aware, because we are also becoming international, we have a lot of people abroad who possibly have dual citizenship, but beyond that there is the regulation of the European Union, that the law of last residence is applied, therefore a Greek who lives in France or Germany may have to apply French or German law respectively to the inheritance, and we must be aware”, said the president of the Notarial Association of the Court of Appeal of Thessaloniki, Dimitrios Tzimas.

“Notarial acts and their role in safeguarding the rights of the contracting parties, but also in general of all citizens, are valuable elements of our legal culture, its crown that must be preserved, studied and defined in relation to the wider context of law”, pointed out in her greeting the deputy dean of the School of Law of AUTH Maria Archimandritou.

The mayor of the central Municipality, Stelios Angeloudis, expressed his satisfaction that “a conference of this scope and dynamics is being hosted in the city of Thessaloniki”, who, referring to the theme of the conference, spoke about the role of notaries as public officials “in a way that has been recorded as particularly important for the administration of justice”. Present at the event were the Consul General of France in Thessaloniki Jean-Luc Laveau and representatives of the Region of Central Macedonia and the Metropolis of Thessaloniki.

The introduction to the theme of the conference was made by the president of the Committee for European Affairs of the World Notarial Union, Valentina Rubertelli, explaining that the members of the committee work systematically in order to “strengthen the ties between the various European notaries but above all to improve the skills them and their notarial practice”, while the Union, through the studies it carries out, develops “recommendations that we hope will be useful not only for notaries, but mainly for European legislators and we hope even for the Greek legislator”.

Regarding the issue of inheritance, he pointed out that “the notary is at the citizen’s side at a particularly critical moment of his existence, when he has to decide how to allocate his assets to his heirs”, while “the notary plays a very important role role, even in the duty of advice, as it must even assess the propriety of certain acts’.