Inheritance Law in Cyprus
A person that has property or Assets in Cyprus is recommended to make a will in order to indicate where his possessions would be transferred in case he/she passes away.
It is recommended if you own property or assets in Cyprus to request consultation from an expert in multi jurisdictional inheritance cases if you have to make a will due to the complexity of law.
This article describes the basic rules of inheritance law in Cyprus and what will happen to properties and assets of a person if he has not a will. We will explain below how can this be avoided by making a will and how this will affects with an other document in the person’s home country.
The Cypriot Law of inheritance
The law of inheritance in Cyprus determines who will inherit the estate of the deceased in case there is not a will or this person cannot make a will. The rules are quite complex and inheritance depends on the surviving family members of the deceased.
The inheritance is divided in two sections
- The Disposable Section
- The Compulsory Section
The Disposable Section is considered the part of the estate that can be passed by a will . This section is determined by the surviving family members and relative. Usually disposable section is a quarter or have the estate of the deceased.
As with the disposable section the rules that determine the estate inheritance of the Compulsory Section, is depended upon the surviving relatives at the date of death. Special provision is made for a surviving spouse who will inherit a share, the amount of which will depend upon who the other surviving relatives are.
Usually if the spouse and the children survive the deceased they share the property equally. However if the deceased did not have any children or descendants of his childer the spouse’s share will be determined according to the existence of other relatives of the deceased. The spouse will not inherit all the estate of his/her partner.
To Whom Do The Cyprus Rules Apply?
It is important to determine if the deceased was domiciled in Cyprus during his time of death in order for Cyprus law to apply and also Cyprus rules apply to the immovable property of those not domiciled in Cyprus.
Therefore in order to determine whether the Cyprus law will apply to an individual, he or she must firstly determine his or her country of domicile. Domicile is a tricky area of law and a person’s country of domicile is not (as many people would imagine) the same as his or her country of residence.
In order to determine domicile of a person we will not to examine the person’s country of permanent residence and the country where that person intends to spend the rest of his life. Even if a person lives in Cyprus any signs of a possible return to his home country (bank accounts, property etc) may be indicators of refusion of Cyprus domicile.
Who Can Make A Will in Cyprus?
In order for an individual to be able to make a will he must be over 18 and also in good state of mind. 5 formalities must be satisfied in order for a will to be valid, the signature of the testator must be witnessed by two witnesses, the witnesses must sign under the presence of the testator and the other witness. If the will is more than one page the final page must be signed by the witnesses and the testator, also the will must be in writing. A will can be cancelled if another will is written and stating that the previous will needs to be cancelled, if the will is destroyed by the testator and if the testator gets married or has children after the execution of the will. Also a person who had a father that was born in UK or in a Commonwealth country is allowed to make a will
Types of Will
If a person is eligible to make a will for his/hers properties and accets in Cyprus he/she needs to be careful if has another will that covers his/hers assets in another country not to be revoked. The two wills need to work side by side so that estate in another country to be covered by a will of that country and estate in Cyprus to be covered by a will in Cyprus. Great care must be taken when writing the will.
If You Cannot Make a Will
If you are eligibile by Cyprus rules and you are not a person or you do not have a father that was born in UK or in a Commonwealth country you can still arrange of what is going to happen to your estate in Cyprus. A will can be writtend fo the Disposable section of the estate and the establishment of trusts and making of lifetime gifts can be utilised to ensure that your property passes to the people you wish.
The laws of inheritance in Cyprus embody a system of forced heirship and will apply to: i) the estate of a person domiciled in Cyprus; and ii) the immovable property of those not domiciled in Cyprus. The rules can be bypassed if you are a person who, or whose father, was born in the UK or in a Commonwealth country, in which case it is possible to make a will to determine who will inherit all of a person’s estate in Cyprus.
It is a good practise to seek consultation and guidance of an expert who can consider your individual family circumstances and advise accordingly.
iMPK Global business Law firm is able to advice clients in all aspects of inheritance law and Will Formation as well as to assist in undertaking administration of estates.