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Top 10 tips on making a Will in Cyprus

NOBODY likes to think about making a Will, but whenever you have a major change in your family or financial circumstances you need to think carefully about what provisions you have in place to protect your loved ones. The laws of succession in Cyprus are not the same as in the UK – or elsewhere […]

NOBODY likes to think about making a Will, but whenever you have a major change in your family or financial circumstances you need to think carefully about what provisions you have in place to protect your loved ones.

The laws of succession in Cyprus are not the same as in the UK – or elsewhere in Europe – and it is for this reason that when you move to Cyprus, or buy a property here it is really important to review and update your Wills.

Here are my top ten tips on making a Will in Cyprus.

Tip 1 – Don’t avoid the issue altogether!

As I have already said, nobody likes to think about this subject – but if you avoid taking action then you could leave your family and loved ones exposed in the future. Making a Will can mean that your wishes are adhered to, help to prevent family strife, make the administration of your estate much simpler (and cheaper) and (if incorporating tax planning) can also substantially reduce the amount of tax payable on death.

Tip 2 – Know your rights

In Cyprus, it is possible for a person who (or whose father) was born in the UK or in a Commonwealth country to make a Will to determine who will inherit his estate in Cyprus. If you do not fall within this category or if you do not make a Will then your property in Cyprus will be governed by the Cypriot rules of forced heirship.

Tip 3 – Speak to someone who knows

If you own assets in more than one country then your individual circumstances need to be carefully considered by a lawyer who knows the laws of the countries involved. Find a lawyer who is experienced in both countries!

Tip 4 – Think about tax

There is no estate duty in Cyprus for Cypriot domiciles (see Tip 5 below) – but if you are domiciled in the UK, then regardless of the location of the assets, you will be taxed on your worldwide estate – this will include your property in Cyprus. At 40% on anything above the nil rate band – this can be hefty!!! Thankfully there are ways to plan your estate tax efficiently when making your Will – careful planning can reduce (or even remove) liability!

Tip 5 – Think about your domicile

From Tip 4 you can see that domicile is a crucial matter to determine when making a Will. Your domicile is the country you were born in – unless you actively change it – and this is not easy to do. If you live in Cyprus, but are not Cypriot, you need to seek legal advice to ascertain where you are currently domiciled.

Tip 6 – Forget legal jargon

It is my opinion that the best kind of Wills are simple and clear – don’t let your lawyer draft something you don’t understand.

Tip 7 – Don’t assume the formalities are the same

The formalities for making a valid Will in Cyprus are not the same as in the UK or another European country – make sure you are given correct advice on how to sign.

Tip 8 – Don’t rely on your Will abroad

Whilst a Will from your home country might be able to govern your Property in Cyprus, this would mean that the Will would need to be “re-sealed” out here. This can be costly and time consuming. I always advise my clients to make a separate Cyprus Will.

Tip 9 – Register your will at the court

In Cyprus you can register your Cypriot Will at the Court. This is a very safe place to store the original document!

Tip 10 – List your assets

I advise my clients to keep copies of all documentation relating to their estate together somewhere safe. When the time comes it will be quicker and easier to deal with the estate if it is clear what assets you have.

The biggest mistake you can make with Wills is to avoid the subject altogether – don’t assume your wishes will be adhered to unless you have made them clear in a Will!

By Louise Zambartas LLB (Hons) Law

Louise is a dual qualified practising English Solicitor and Cyprus Advocate and has established The Law Offices of Louise Zambartas; she lives and works in Limassol. I am grateful to Louise for allowing me to publish her article; I urge all Cyprus property buyers to follow her sound advice.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be publishing more hints and tips by Louise. In the next one, she’ll be giving us her top legal tips on buying land in Cyprus.


The Law Office of Louise Zambartas is a specialist team of Cyprus Property Lawyers comprising English Solicitors and Cyprus Barristers dedicated to dealing with conveyancing in Cyprus and associated legal work.


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