CHANGES TO THE LAW ON WILLS IN CYPRUS
– NON CYPRIOTS HAVING ASSETS IN CYPRUS
According to Cyprus law in relation to Wills every person having assets in Cyprus has to draft their Will according to the laws of Cyprus.
Until recently, article 42 of the Cyprus legislation in relation to Wills was giving to Britons and Common Wealth Citizens in relation to their movable or immovable assets and to any other non-Cypriot in relation to their movable assets, absolute freedom as to how they will draft their Will as they were exempted from Cyprus legislation.
However article 42 has now been removed from Cyprus law and Britons and Common Wealth Citizens as well as any other non-Cypriot are no longer exempted from Cyprus legislation in relation to Wills. Consequently every person having assets in Cyprus has to draft his Will according to Cyprus Law.
The effect of this change is that non-Cypriots will no longer be able to distribute their Cyprus assets according to their wishes, as Cyprus system of forced heirship dictates that certain family members are entitled to a certain share of the assets, irrespective of the provisions of the Will.
The solution to this problem was introduced by the European Regulation No. 650/2012 which came into effect on 17th August 2015 and applies to the succession of persons who die on or after the 17th August 2015. According to this European Regulation any citizen including a non EU citizen who owns assets in any EU country (except in the UK, Ireland and Denmark) is allowed to declare in a testamentary declaration whether the law of their nationality or the law of their habitual residence applies to their Will.
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom do not participate in the Regulation. The opt-out simply means that it is not possible to make an election under ‘British’ law for ‘foreign’ law to apply in Britain to British assets, but it does not mean that Britons and Common Wealth Citizens cannot make an election under the laws of participating EU States. So for Britons and Common Wealth Citizens who have property in Cyprus, EU regulation applies and that means that:
- You do not need to make a new will.
- You need to make a codicil which our office will provide for free to any client of our office and free for any new client who would like this done in our office.
For further information as to the testamentary declaration and the procedure to be followed, please do not hesitate to contact our offices.