Administration of Estate and Successions in Cyprus
- An “Estate” is defined as… the movable and immovable property someone possesses during their lifetime.
- Administration of Estate in Cyprus refers to… all the procedures of gathering and distributing assets and debts of the deceased to his/her beneficiaries.
All matters related to administration of estate in Cyprus are regulated by the Administration of Estates Law, and specifically The Cyprus Wills and Succession Law, Cap. 195 and The Probates (Re-Sealing) Law (Cap. 192).
These laws deal with the rights of persons with regard to the disposal of their properties after death and the application of the relevant procedures.
Succession and Wills Regulations in Cyprus and EU
The law requires that a Will should be in writing and attested by two competent witnesses, which clearly shows the free and true wishes of a sane and competent testator.
The Cyprus Wills and Succession Law, Cap. 195 regulates:
- The succession of the estate of physical persons, residents of the Republic of Cyprus.
- The succession of real estate of physical persons, non-residents of the Republic of Cyprus.
The Probates (Re-Sealing) Law (Cap. 192).
Special provision is made for persons who die in the UK who, at the time of death, also owned property in Cyprus. Under this regulation, the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration issued by a court, may be re-sealed in Cyprus and an administrator appointed by the court to administer their estate in Cyprus.
Under Cyprus Law of forced heirship, if a person dies leaving a spouse and a child, then three quarters of the estate passes to the spouse and child in equal shares. The testator – the person making the Will – has the freedom to dispose of the remaining quarter share as they wish.
Fathers born in the UK
Currently, there is a concession for individuals whose fathers were born in the UK or in a Commonwealth country. Providing a Will has been made, they are allowed to leave their Cyprus assets to whoever they wish.
New EU Legislation 650/2012: Cross-Border Successions
Under new EU rules, the Court of the EU country where the person is based at the time of his/her death will administer matters relating to the Will and inheritance by following the law of that EU country.
Individuals who draft a Will may choose to have the law of the country of origin applied to the entirety their estate, even if they live in another EU member-state and have property in different countries. The European Certificate of Succession enables citizens to prove their rights anywhere in the EU.
Why you should instruct a lawyer in Cyprus
To ensure the succession of your assets in Cyprus, it is essential to obtain the correct advice – specific to your circumstances – from a lawyer who has experience in dealing with Cypriot succession law.
It is also important and strongly advised for English executors and English solicitors dealing with an estate involving Cypriot assets to have independent legal advice from an experienced Cyprus law firm.
A lawyer in Cyprus can also be appointed under a Power of Attorney to deal with the formalities of the estate and the resealing process. All documentation required in Cyprus will be signed on behalf of the personal representative.