Wills and succession

image3141829The will is a legal declaration in writing that allows you (the testator) to define exactly how you wish succession to your estate to be effected in the event of your death.

A Will may be revoked at any time prior to your death, but in the following cases a will be deemed to be revoked:

  • by your marriage after the execution of the will.
  • by the birth of a child to the testator after the execution of the will, if at the time of making the will you had no children.

Such marriage or birth shall not be deemed to revoke a will, if it appears upon the face of the will that the will was made in contemplation of such marriage or birth.

It is strongly advisable to make Wills to cover property in Cyprus as a UK Will or a Will from any other country will not be recognised in this country and any movable or immovable property (house and bank accounts, etc) you have would revert back to the Cypriot government.

Any Will made over here MUST:

  • Be signed when you are in Cyprus
  • Have Executors who reside in Cyprus
  • Be witnessed by persons who reside in Cyprus

In order to produce Wills on your behalf we would need to know:

  • The full address of your Cyprus residence
  • Would you like the Wills to cover UK/ Worldwide property or just Cyprus property
  • Who each of your beneficiaries will be (with full names and addresses)
  • What you would like to happen in the event of simultaneous death of you and your main beneficiary (assuming this is your spouse or partner)
  • Would you prefer to have your body returned to the UK (please note that Cyprus does not offer or allow cremation at this time)
  • Is anything to be held in Trust until a beneficiary reaches a certain age and, if so, what age – we suggest a minimum of 21 – and do they have guardians (guardians names and contact details to be provided)
  • Do you wish to make any special bequests which are not already covered in your UK Will? Please remember that any legacies left in your UK Will must not be repeated in your Cyprus Will. If something were to appear in both, the beneficiary would receive their legacy twice.

The Law

The legislation governing the application of Wills – subject to several minor and subsequent amendments — is defined in the Cyprus Wills and Succession Law Chapter 195.

This law defines the rules applying to succession in respect of the estates of all persons domiciled in Cyprus, irrespective of where the estates are situated.

For persons not domiciled in Cyprus, the law covers all immovable property that is situated in Cyprus. For immovable property, laws applying are those of their country of their domicile. For the purpose of the law, domicile is described as the place that a person treats as his/her permanent home.

Who can make a will?

Any person of sound mind and who has achieved the age of eighteen years shall be eligible to make a valid Will.

Estate disposable by Will.

Certain categories of persons are entitled to dispose of the whole of their estate by Will as they may wish. This includes any person who was born in the United Kingdom, or whose father was born in the United Kingdom. The provision also covers persons born in self-governing Dominions.

All other individuals who are domiciled in Cyprus may dispose by Will the whole or part of their disposable portion of their estate subject to the following rules:

a) Should a deceased person leave a spouse and child, or a spouse and a descendant of a child, or no spouse but a child or dependant of a child, he can dispose of up to one-fourth of the net value of his estate by Will
b) Should a deceased person leave a spouse or parent, but no child or descendant of a child, he can dispose of up to one half of he net value of his estate by Will.
c) Should a deceased person leave neither a spouse nor child nor descendant of a child, nor a father nor a mother he can dispose of his entire estate by Will.

In the event that a person should attempt to dispose of an amount in excess of the defined proportions, the excess is abated and reduced proportionally so as to limit the total amount to the defined disposable portion.

Succession where there is no Will.

Spouse’s Rights

Where a person dies leaving a spouse, then such spouse shall – after the debts and liabilities of the estate have been discharged – be entitled to a share in the undisposed portion of the estate where there is a Will. Where there is no Will, then the spouse shall be entitled to a share of the whole of the estate. If the deceased has left besides such spouse –

a) Any child or grandchildren, the spouse’s share shall be equal the share of each child.
b) Father, mother, sister, brother, uncle or nephew, the spouse’s share shall be equal to one half of the estate.
c) Cousin or child or a nephew, the spouse’s share shall be equal to three-fourths of the estate.
d) No close relatives, the spouse’s share shall be equal to the whole of the estate.

Succession of Kindred

Subject to the above mentioned rights of the spouse, the following persons can become entitled to a share in the estate of the deceased:

a) First Class

The children of the deceased, in equal shares. In the event of the prior death of any of the children of the deceased, if that child had left any children then they would be entitled to the share of their parent in equal shares.

b) Second Class

The father, mother of the deceased living at his death and brothers and sisters of the full and half blood all in equal shares. In the event of prior death of any of the above mentioned, their descendants in equal shares per stripe.

c) Third Class

The ancestors of the deceased nearest in degree of kindrend living at his death.

d) Fourth class

The nearest kin of the deceased living at the death within the sixth degree of kindrend, the nearer degree excluding those more remote in equal shares.