Do I need to have a Will for my Estate in Cyprus?
What is a Will?
In Cyprus, a Will is a legal document which contains a person’s intentions as regards the distribution of his movable and immovable assets following his death.
Why do I need a Will?
Under a Will (subject to some limitations imposed by Law namely the forced heirship rules) a person can plan as to how his estate will be distributed following his death and who will be inheriting from his estate. It is very important to understand that if there is no Will in place, the rules of intestacy will apply which means that the estate will be distributed to the parties entitled under the Law which are divided into categories of line of succession.
Are there any limitations imposed by the Law as regards freedom of disposition in my Will?
Yes, there are limitations imposed by the Law as regards the freedom of Will which are also known as forced heirship rules.
Cyprus has a complicated system of forced heirship in which a portion of a deceased’s estate must be effectively passed to surviving family members according to a system of inheritance. Natural children of deceased persons are entitled to an equal share of their parent’s property along with their parent’s spouse. The forced heirship regime applies to anyone’s Estate in Cyprus irrespective of his place of residence or nationality.
Is there any way I can chose the law of my nationality to govern the succession of my estate?
A person can choose the law of their nationality as the law applicable to their estate. However, it is very important to understand that such choice must be clearly expressed in writing in their Will. This has been possible since 2015 whereby the EU Regulation 650/12 was implemented, and which has universal application.
How do I make sure that my Will is valid?
A Will is valid only if the testator is of sound mind and above the age of 18 and provided:
- it is in writing,
- it is signed at the bottom or at the end by the testator,
- it is signed by two witnesses who are of sound mind, at the same time, in the presence and at the request of the testator.
It is vital to note that if the Will is comprised of more than one sheet of paper then each sheet must be signed by the testator as well as by the witnesses.
The witnesses of the Will cannot be beneficiaries under the provisions of the Will although they can be named as Executors.
Can I revoke or destroy my Will?
A Will is revoked if there is a later Will which expressly revokes the earlier or if there is a later Will which is clearly incompatible with the provisions of the preceding one. A Will can be destroyed if it is burned, teared up, or destroyed by any other means by the testator.
Do I need a lawyer to prepare my Will?
Strictly speaking, it is not necessary to appoint a lawyer to prepare your Will. However, bearing in mind the strict and changing requirements that need to be met with so that a Will is considered valid, it is highly recommended that you seek legal guidance so as to avoid complications.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. For any further information, please contact Andrea Anthimou, at Andreas Demetriades & Co LLC by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +357 26 811 668.