The inheritance Laws of Cyprus has a set complicated system of forced heirship, whereby a portion of the deceased’s estate is effectively administered to the surviving family members. This is done in order to protect the rights of close relatives of the deceased i.e., the testator.
The forced heirship regime, restricts the deceased person and means that certain relatives such as a spouse or children cannot be excluded from an inheritance and they have a right to a fixed minimum percentage of the estate.
Two terms important to know are Disposable and Statutory Portion:
- Disposable portion is the part of the estate that the testator can dispose of as they wish through their Will.
- Statutory portion is the part reserved for the spouse, children and grandchildren and must be distributed according to the provisions of the Wills and Succession Law/Cap. 195.
Disposable portion allocation
- Where a person passes away, leaving spouse and a child, or spouse and descendant of a child, or no spouse but a child or descendant of a child, the disposable portion must not exceed one-fourth of the net value of the estate. (1/4 of the NV of the estate)
- When a person passes away, leaving spouse or father or mother but no child or descendant of a child, the disposable portion must not exceed one-half of the net value of the estate, (1/2 of the NV of the estate)
- When a person passes away, leaving neither a spouse, nor a child, nor a descendant of a child, nor a father, nor a mother, they are free to dispose as they wish all of the estate.
In situations where the testator disposes more than the disposable portion, the disposition portion will be reduced according to the above scenarios.
Statutory portion allocation
The Statutory portion, that remains after the disposition, is disposed according to the rules of intestacy. The portion of the spouse is calculated first and then the rest of the estate will be distributed to the different classes of relatives of the deceased depending on the degree of kindred, as follows:
- Where the deceased left a child or a descendant of a child, the spouse’s share is equal to the share of each child.
- Where the deceased left no child or descendant of a child but has an ancestor or descendant of an ancestor within the third degree of kindred, the spouse is allowed 50% of the net estate.
- Where the deceased has left a relative within the fourth degree of kindred, the spouse is entitled to 75% of the net estate.
- Where the deceased left no relative within the four degrees of kindred the spouse is entitled to the entire net estate.
Distribution according to the rules of intestacy (absence of a Will when a person passes away):
The parties entitled to receive portions of the estate (movable and immovable property) are divided into the following categories:
First class – this includes:
- the deceased’s legitimate children; and
- the living descendants of legitimate children who died during the deceased’s lifetime.
Second class – this includes:
- the deceased’s living parents;
- in the absence of parents, brothers and sisters alive at the time of the deceased’s death; or
- in the absence of both of the above, the descendants of the deceased’s siblings who died during the deceased’s lifetime.
Third class – this includes:
- grandparents and distant relatives; and
- closest living descendants.
Fourth class – includes deceased’s closest relatives at the time of death up to the sixth degree (eg, uncles, aunts, cousins or siblings of grandparents).
- When a deceased person dies intestate (without a will), the Cyprus courts can authorise an individual and/orindividuals to administrate the deceased’s
- A deceased can also appoint executors of their will to administrate their estate.
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- Will drafting and registration to the court
- Advising on issues relating to Wills and Succession law
- Safekeeping of Will
- Application and Documentation for the Grant of Probate
- Executors or administrators
- Grant of Probate procedures
- Trust Creation