(Articles 826-841 of the Code of Civil Procedure)
When someone in Greece passes away in his residence alone or dies without having close relatives and there is a danger that his property will be violated, then said property is sealed. The sealing of the property takes place pursuant to a Court’s decision which is issued either:
- a) Upon the petition of any person who has a legitimate interest, filed with the competent Magistrate Court, or
- b) By the Court sealing the property ex officio, namely on its own initiative, without anyone requesting said sealing.
Pursuant to this decision the Court orders that the property is sealed and appoints an escrow agent for its contents. After the aforementioned decision is issued, the Court’s Secretary visits the property, seals it, keeps the keys and produces a sealing report.
In order to unseal the property, someone who has a legitimate interest – usually a relative – files a petition with the competent Court requesting said unsealing. He can also request from the Court to appoint a Notary for the unsealing and experts to appraise the value of the items contained therein.
The documents necessary to be filed with the Court for the unsealing are:
- A petition requesting the unsealing and explaining the reason
- A certificate of the deceased’s death
- A certified copy of the Court’s sealing Decision
- A certified copy of the sealing report
- A next of kin certificate for the deceased
- A certificate issued by the competent Magistrate’s Court that no Will has been probated or, if there is a Will, that no other Will has been probated.
- A certificate issued by the competent Court of First Instance that no Will has been probated or, if there is a Will, that no other Will has probated
- If there is a Will, a certified copy of the Will.
The Court issues a Decision and orders the unsealing of the property, appoints a Notary and experts for the unsealing procedure and also a person to hold the contents of the apartment in escrow following the unsealing.
The petitioner contacts the Notary who specifies the exact day and time for the unsealing. Then the petitioner has to serve the Court’s decision via a Court bailiff to the Tax Authority where the deceased was registered and inform said Authority about the day and time that the unsealing will take place in case a representative of the Tax Authority wishes to be present. He also serves the Court’s Decision via a Court bailiff to the Court appointed experts.
On the unsealing day the Notary produces an unsealing report, describing the procedure that was followed and specifying the value of each item of the house as it was appraised by the experts. Then he/she delivers the keys to the escrow agent and provides a certified copy of said report to those who requested the unsealing and were present during the procedure. The fees of the Notary and agents are paid by the petitioner of the unsealing.