Wills and Succession Law in Cyprus

Wills and Succession Law in Cyprus

By: Danos & Associates

The provisions of Cyprus succession law are applicable in cases where the deceased in question had been domiciled in Cyprus at the time of death.

The issue of ‘domicile’ can be complicated but generally speaking a deceased person must have lived permanently in Cyprus at the time of death. Even if the deceased person was not a permanent resident in Cyprus at the time of death, Cypriot law will still be applicable if the deceased owned immovable property in Cyprus.

Cyprus succession law is governed by the Wills and Succession Law/Cap 195, The Administration of Estates Law/Cap 189 and the Probates (Re- Sealing) Law/Cap 192. Cap 195 governs to a large extent succession law and Wills in Cyprus.

Cap 189 provides for the rules and procedure in regards to the correct execution of Wills and the administration of estates of deceased persons. Cap 192 deals with cases where there is a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in the UK or another commonwealth country and these documents have to be re-sealed in Cyprus and an administrator to be appointed in Cyprus for property that is located here to be administered and distributed to the beneficiaries.


Requirements for a Will to be valid

  1. A Will must be in writing.
  2. The Will must be signed at the bottom of the last page by the testator and his initials or signature should be on every page of the Will.
  3. The signature of the testator must be witnessed by 2 witnesses which should be adults and have sound mind. The witnesses must also sign and have their initials or signatures on every page of the Will. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the Will.


Revoking a Will

A Will can be revoked by making a new Will that explicitly states that it revokes the previous one. Moreover, a Will can be destroyed by a testator or a person authorised by the testator. Moreover, a Will is considered to be revoked if the testator marries or has a first born child after the date the Will was executed.


Forced Heirship Regime

According to Cypriot law there are restrictions as to how the property of the testator can be disposed of according to his Will. This aims to protect the rights of close relatives of the testator. The part of the property that the testator can dispose of at his will is called ‘disposable portion’. The rest of the estate which has to be distributed according to law is referred to as ‘statutory portion’. There used to be an exception to the forced heirship regime for British and other commonwealth nationals. However, this exception has now been abolished and the forced heirship regime is applicable to all. How the disposable and statutory portion is calculated depends on who the surviving relatives at the time of death are and the class of kindred they belong to in relation with the testator.


The Administration Process

The Court will appoint after an application from an appropriate relative of the deceased or his/her authorised lawyer an administrator or more to administer the estate of the deceased. In cases where one or more of the beneficiaries are underage there should be more than 1 administrator.

The purpose of the administration is to settle any debts of the estate of the deceased person in question and to distribute the assets of the estate according to the Will of the deceased or if there is no Will the estate will be distributed according to statutory portions. The administrator has to inform the Court with written statements and affidavits about the course of the administration process and to specify which assets the property includes.

Moreover, before any property is transferred to the beneficiaries the administrator must obtain a discharge from the tax authorities. When all assets are transferred to the beneficiaries the administrator should file to Court final accounts and explain in detail to Court how and where the assets of the estate where distributed and provide relevant documentation.

Since 2000 inheritance tax has been abolished and no inheritance tax has to be paid in regards to the estate of a deceased person that passed away after year 2000.

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Tags: Succession Law


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