The Importance of Making a Last Will and Testament

Will you, or won’t you? If you own any assets of value, whether moveable or immovable or both, this is a question you shouldn’t ignore.

You most certainly should make a last Will and Testament.

Why? Dying intestate makes disposal of your estate very complicated and adds significantly to the length of time required to wind it up, to the detriment of your heirs.

Because each country has different laws of succession, this article will focus on the options available to persons of legal age regarding the disposal of their assets in Cyprus by means of a Will.

There are several scenarios:

1. Under Cypriot Laws of Succession

Where Cypriot law differs from that of most other countries is in applying the so-called “forced heirship regime”.

Broadly speaking, this means that certain relatives, such as a spouse or children, have a right to a fixed minimum percentage of the deceased’s estate and cannot be excluded from an inheritance.

It works like this:

When a person dies, her or his estate is divided into two segments—the disposable portion and the statutory portion.

The Disposable Portion

This is the portion that the testator can leave to whomever she or he wishes. It is calculated as follows:

  • If the deceased leaves a spouse and/or a child, or a descendant of a child, the disposable portion is limited to one-fourth of the value of the estate.
  • If the deceased leaves a spouse or father/mother but no child, the disposable portion is limited to one-half of the value of the estate.
  • If the deceased leaves no spouse, child, father, or mother, she or he can dispose of the entire estate as they please.

The Statutory Portion

This is the portion that regardless of a Will, will be inherited by the legal beneficiaries according to the Law of Wills and Succession of Cyprus.

The share of this portion of the Will is calculated based on what will be inherited by the surviving spouse (if any) as follows:

  • If the deceased leaves a child or children or a descendant of a child, the spouse will inherit a share equal to the share of each child.
  • If the deceased leaves no child or descendant of a child but leaves relatives such as father, mother, siblings, or grandparent/s, the spouse will inherit 50% of the estate.
  • If the deceased leaves no child or descendant of a child but leaves nephews and/or nieces, the spouse will inherit 75% of the estate.
  • If the deceased leaves no child, descendant of a child, siblings, grandparents, or nephews/nieces, the spouse will inherit 100% of the estate.

2. Under EU Laws of Succession

Foreign nationals living in Cyprus may elect, subject to certain conditions being met, to make a Will in accordance with the laws of succession of their home country.

The law governing this concession is contained in the EU Succession Regulation (650/2010).

The relevant article, Article 22 (Choice of Law) reads, inter alia, as follows:

  1. A person may choose as the law to govern his succession as a whole the law of the State whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death. A person possessing multiple nationalities may choose the law of any of the States whose nationality he possesses at the time of making the choice or at the time of death.

The intention to invoke this provision must be clearly stated in the Will, with explicit wording declaring the use of the European Succession Regulation No. 650/2012, and the Law of election.

If You Die Intestate

Should you not get around to making a Will, or choose not to, your Cyprus-based assets will be distributed in accordance with the Cypriot laws of intestacy and succession and your assets would be distributed as per the Cyprus Laws of succession by the opening of an Administration of estate.

Our lawyers are skilled in drafting Wills that consider the personal circumstances of each person and their descendants as well as assisting with the applications for the opening of an Administration of estate.

Contact us today if you have any queries related to this topic or would like help in drafting your Will.

We also specialise in the following legal issues:

  • Contract law
  • Property law
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Ecommerce law
  • Maritime law
  • Corporate and commercial law
  • Employment law
  • Litigation
  • International tax planning


The above article is informative and does not correspond to legal advice. For further information and the provision of specialised legal advice, please get in touch with Michael Chambers & co LLC, or send us an enquiry at: info@chambers.law

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