Cypriot Wills

Owning property abroad makes it vital to deal with effective estate planning

Expats who are fortunate enough to have been able to make the move to Cyprus need to consider issues including:

  • Have I changed my Domicile? Only when Domicile has been moved from the UK is UK Inheritance Tax avoided. Domicile is different to residence and usually needs conscious steps to change it. While Cyprus does not have Inheritance Tax, the estates of some expats can still end up paying Inheritance Tax in the UK because of a failure to change domicile.
  • UK Will – If I have one is it still relevant? Is it written under the laws of England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or under the laws of Scotland? Is it the most effective way of distributing UK and/or Cypriot estate?
  • Cyprus Will – Should I have one? Should it replace my UK Will or sit alongside it?
  • Should I draft a Power of Attorney to enable my UK and/or Cypriot estate to be managed if I am unable to manage it myself?

People who are fortunate enough to own property in Cyprus, as an investment, need to consider issues including:

  • Does my Cypriot property affect my Inheritance Tax position in the UK?
  • UK Will – Should I have one? If I have one, is it still relevant? Does it effectively deal with how I wish my UK and my Cypriot estate to be distributed?
  • Cyprus Will – Should I have one? If so, how will it affect my UK Will if I have one?
  • Should I draft a Power of Attorney to enable my UK and/or Cypriot estate to be managed if I am unable to manage it myself?

People who have already made Wills in Cyprus need to consider issues including:

  • Is my Cypriot lawyer appointed as my executor? If so, do I know what the fees will be?
  • Do I need to appoint a Cypriot lawyer as my executor?


Until July 2015, the law on Wills in Cyprus for UK nationals who owned assets in Cyprus was identical to the law on Wills in England & Wales. This enabled them to distribute their Cypriot assets though their Will without any restrictions or limitations.

This situation changed in July 2015 when the law on Wills in Cyprus was changed so that anyone who dies after this date, (irrespective of if, or when, they made a Will) and who has left property assets in Cyprus (land and buildings) is obliged to distribute a share of those property assets to their spouse and/or their children, if they have any. Non-property assets (cash etc) is not covered by these rules and people can distribute their cash assets freely on their death through their Will. For anyone who is married, their spouse cannot inherit all of their property assets as the children of the deceased will also inherit a share. For anyone who wants to prevent a spouse or a child from inheriting some or all of their property assets, the new change in law poses a significant problem because these people are now automatically entitled to a share of Cypriot based property assets.

An EU regulation on succession (known as Brussels IV) came into effect on 17th August 2015 and Cyprus is a signatory to this regulation. This regulation enables a person to elect in their Will that the laws of nationality, rather than the laws of Cyprus, to apply to the distribution of their estate.  Since the laws of England and Wales place no restrictions on how an estate can be distributed, an election that English law applies to the distribution of an estate in Cyprus should circumvent the restrictions on the distribution of property assets under Cyprus law. However there have been instances where the courts in Cyprus have ignored the obligations of the Brussels IV regulation and directed that the laws of Cyprus should still apply to the distribution of an estate.

It should be noted that the restrictions placed by Cyprus law on succession only apply to property assets and therefore the restrictions outlined above could be avoided by not owning property assets at the time of death. This could be achieved by:

  • Selling property and holding the proceeds value as cash
  • Gifting property to the intended beneficiaries during lifetime - though this may have capital gains tax implications
  • Transferring the property into a trust - though these needs careful legal and financial consideration

Also, it is possible for the beneficiaries under Cyprus law to waive their right to a share of Cyprus property assets in favour of the beneficiaries stipulated in the Will of the deceased.

It should also be noted that the restrictions can be helpful in some situations. For example, where a couple own property in Cyprus but either or both of them have children from other relationships, the Cyprus law ensures that the children of each of the respective owners will always inherit a share of their parents share of their Cyprus property and that the surviving owner cannot redirect the value of the property elsewhere after the death of their partner.

Willpower offers advice and UK and Cypriot Willwriting services in Cyprus and the UK to explode the many myths about Wills and to help you decide the best solution for you.

Willpower has Estate Planning Consultants on the island, enabling us to provide our advice on the island. We can also provide advice to UK based clients at our office in Halesowen in the West Midlands.

Registering and storing a Will in a Cyprus court until it is needed for probate after someone has died is optional. Most of our clients choose  to take advantage of the storage servces recommended by Willpower and some risk keeping their Will themselves. However if some of our clients want to register and store their Will with the Cyprus Courts straight away and there is an cost of doing so of €18 per document which will need to be paid to direct to the Cyprus courts.

Our fees for drafting English and/or Cypriot Wills in Cyprus can be found here.

Payment can be made in Sterling or Euros. When paying in Euros, we will convert our fee to Euros using the Bank of Cyprus exchange rate that is applicable on the date that an appointment is made or on the date that payment is made, whichever is most beneficial to our client.

To arrange a consultation, please contact us.

or contact our Cyprus enquiry number 99 565815


Have just today spoken with Steve from Willpower....very professional and informative given we may not need their help...they were happy to visit and offer reassurance only..the service they offer is excellent and extremely reasonable...we will be using their services...and would highly recommend you contact even its just for a chat and reassurance. Thankyou Steve for visiting today, we will be in touch.