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Wills & Estates

Cyprus Wills & Estate Planning

Many people in Cyprus don’t know what happens upon death when a will is not made. Our wills and probate lawyers will help you with all aspects of making a will and help you with all estate administration issues.

Making a will is vital if you want to be certain that your wishes will be met after you pass on. Many people put it off. They worry it will be complicated and expensive. But the process is fairly straightforward and if you plan ahead, presents excellent value.

It is important to review and update your will regularly to make sure it always reflects what you want to happen to your estate (your property, savings and possessions).

If you don’t make a will, in legal terms you will die ‘intestate’ and your estate is divided up according to the Intestate Rules.

Your estate includes everything you own, any cash, property, possessions and investments. Collectively these are your assets and your assets make up your estate.

Cyprus law is applicable to govern the administration of a deceased person when the deceased person was domiciled in Cyprus at the time of his or her death. This usually means that the deceased person must have been living permanently in Cyprus at the time of his or her death.

Chambers & Co handle all issues relating to Wills, Probate & Estate Administration in Cyprus. 

We also provide assistance to individuals who live abroad and need to claim their inheritance within the territory of Cyprus.

In order for a Will to be valid the testator must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.

In order for Cyprus inheritance and succession law to apply, the deceased must be domiciled in Cyprus at the time of his/her death. However, Cyprus law may be applied in the case of immovable property that is situated in Cyprus, even though the deceased had his/her domiciled aboard.

In order for a Will to be valid, it must be in writing and executed in a certain way.

First of all, it must be signed at the bottom or at the end by the testator or by someone else who acts on behalf of the testator in his presence and by his command.

Furthermore, the signature must be put or must be acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses who must be present at the same time.

The said witnesses must attest and countersign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

Finally, each sheet of the will must be signed or be initialled by or on behalf of the testator and the witnesses.

The witnesses must be age 18, or above, must be of sound mind and they must also be able to sign their names.

According to Cyprus law, a bequest in a will in favour of the witness or husband, wife or child of the witness is void and with no legal effect.

Cyprus law aims to protect the family, so it imposes certain restrictions on the freedom of the testator to dispose of his/her estate by Will.

Cyprus Law allows the testator to dispose of only a portion of the estate (known as the “disposable portion”).

Specifically, if a person dies leaving spouse and child, or spouse and descendant of a child, or no spouse but child or descendant of a child then the disposable portion must not exceed the ¼ of the net value of the estate.

Where a person dies leaving a spouse or father or mother but no child or descendant of a child, then the disposable portion must not exceed the ½ of the net value of the estate.

The only way a person is able to dispose all of his/her estate freely is where he/she dies leaving neither a spouse, nor a child, nor a descendant of a child, nor a father, nor a mother.  In this case, he/she is free to dispose by Will all of his/her estate.

HOWEVER, under a choice of law provision in the Brussels 1V Regulation any person can choose the law of their country of their nationality as the law to govern the succession of their estate within the participating EU states.

For example, if you are a British National with property in Cyprus you may choose English law to apply to the administration of your estate and in so doing avoid the Cyprus forced heirship rules.

The EU Regulation provides that the choice of applicable law has to be made expressly by a declaration in the Will, otherwise the default position is that the law of your habitual residence will be the governing law for the distribution of your estate.

If a person is not able to make a Cyprus Will dealing with their entire estate, or if they are able to do so but decide not to, then the assets are subject to the Cyprus Succession Law and will pass according to the “forced heirship” rules.

Cyprus has a fairly complicated system of inheritance which effectively reserves a certain portion of the estate which must pass according to the rules. The portion which passes according to the forced heirship system depends on the surviving relatives of the deceased as briefly mentioned above.

The cost for the drafting of a standard will, including expenses for filling the will with the probate registrar start at €450 + VAT.

Wills & Estates in Cyprus

See how our lawyers can help you with your Will & Estate planning in Cyprus.