Wills and Succession in Cyprus Explained
Wills and successions, just like a loved one’s demise, are matters which one might find themselves entangled in without much notice or warning. People often find themselves as unwilling back-seat-passengers, and completely in the dark when it comes to wills and succession laws. In case you own property in Cyprus or it is your new domicile, being informed about such laws is always a smart choice.
Cyprus laws about wills and successions are governed primarily by the Chapter/Capitulus 195 of the Cyprus Laws cited as the Wills and Succession Law. Other laws related to succession are the Chapters 189 and 192 which govern the administration of estates and the probate laws respectively.
The Importance of Domicile
A person is said to be domiciled in a jurisdiction if that person resides there with a certain intention of making that jurisdiction their permanent place of residence. Domicile is inherited at birth from the same of the father, and in case of a deceased father or unmarried parents, from the domicile of the mother at the time of the birth of the child. Upon reaching qualified age domicile can then be changed to any other jurisdiction as one moves to a different jurisdiction with the intention of residing there permanently.
Domicile is important with respect to the Section 5 of the Cap. 195, wherein the Law applies to all estate of the people domiciled in The Republic of Cyprus and in the case of immovable property located on the island, it applies to people regardless of their domicile. Thus, often one of the most important matters in a suit becomes to prove the intention to make Cyprus the permanent residence.
Cyprus has no estate duty for people domiciled on the island and offers other significant advantages over all other jurisdictions in Europe and possibly in the world. We can help you with all aspects of making Cyprus your new home. We are always available for all your queries.
Forced Heirship in Cyprus
Cyprus is one of the few states that had legislated actively towards protecting the rights of the close relatives and immediate family members of the owners of the estates. There are restrictions by law on how much of the estate can be disposed off by the will of the owner. It is mandated by law to keep a certain prescribed part of the estate inaccessible to the owner himself by the execution of a will. This restricted part is the exclusive right of the immediate family and close relatives of the owner
regardless of whether the owner wants them to have a share in his estate or not. The exact value or part of the estate that goes to each relative depends on different factors, one of them being, the degree of kinship shared with the owner, as closer relations like, children, spouses etc get bigger parts. The exact restrictions are contained in Article 41 of the Cap 195. It is important to note that until not long ago there were exceptions to forced heirship for British and Commonwealth citizens. However, after 2015 these have been abolished and the restrictions to the disposable estate apply to all now.
All About Wills in Cyprus
A will is a compulsorily written and signed document, executable by any person of sound mind and having attained 18 years of age, of their intentions and directions, about the disposal of their estate in the event of their death. According to the Section 23 of the Cap 195, such wills must also be signed and attested by two witnesses, of at least 18 years of age and sound mind, in the presence of each other and the testator.
The Cap 195 of the Wills and Succession Law in Part II makes for four different categories of succession on the basis of the degree of kinship with the testator. In the case where a deceased person is survived by neither a spouse, or a child, or a descendant of a child, nor any of their own parents, then the entire estate if free from forced heirship and can be disposed as per the will of the testator.
The spouses and children have special rights given under the Part III of the Cap 195 with respect to the statutory, undisposable part of the estate of a testator. Any part in the will is not accessible for any person who has illegally and intentionally caused the death or made an attempt for the same towards the person whose estate they would succeed, or the same offence or an attempt towards the spouse, children or parent of the person whose estate they would succeed. Any part in a will obtained through coercion or fraud is also invalid.
Revocation of a Will
A will can be revoked at any time by the testator, or on his behalf, on his instruction. This can be done by a formal declaration of revocation, or by issuing another will whose provisions are contrary to the one issued before, but the former will would only be revoked to the extent of contradictory provisions to the newer one. A will can also be revoked simply by the destruction of the executed document by, or on the instructions of, the testator. A will is revoked by the occurrence of a marriage or a birth of a child after the execution of the will unless specific provisions were made ruling out such a revocation in contemplation of such an event. After revocation, a will can be revived only to
the extent of the specific provisions for which the intent of the testator can be clearly established for such a revival.
The court appoints the administrator/s of the estate of a deceased person on receiving an application for the same from the person/s interested in the position where there is no will from the deceased or there is an interest of a person with a disability involved. Provision for executors of the will can also be made by the testator in the will itself and the Registry of the District Court having jurisdiction in the place of residence of the deceased should be approached by such persons to access the rights to the letters of administrations and probates. The Registrar of each District Court is the probate registrar for that jurisdiction.
We Provide for all Types of Succession Needs
The laws of successions in Cyprus are complex and distinct from all those in other European jurisdictions. There are tricky provisions often overlooked due to inexperience and lack of knowledge. We at Simon Zenios & Co posses extensive experience and deep skillset in dealing specifically with matters of succession. We can help you in making a Cyprus will if your immovable assets are located on the island. We also aid in reducing the inheritance tax you might have to pay in your jurisdiction of residence as you don’t have to worry about paying any inheritance in Cyprus. One of the unique features of our services includes our expertise in helping you reduce the statutorily disposable part of your estate under forced heirship so that we can maximize the part which can be disposed of according to your exact wishes. We are always available for all your legal queries.