The death of a spouse, family member or friend is emotionally and physically trying. Dealing with the complexities of legal, administrative and tax obligations arising upon the death can seem insurmountable. Probate in a foreign country can be additionally daunting.
Our experienced Cyprus probate lawyers will speak to you plainly to guide you and provide advice in dealing with the difficulty of dealing with the estate of a loved one. We act quickly to advise our clients how to commence, distribute the estate to the rightful heirs and conclude the probate or administration of the estate in Cyprus in a cost effective manner.
Often, however, we find that the same questions are asked by persons interested in the estate. Below we provide some frequently asked questions and answers as an initial guide.
What is probate and administration?
Our probate and administration laws and subsidiary legislation are based on English law.
Simply put, probate is the procedure taken through the probate courts of Cyprus to open and prove a Will and distribute the estate. The process begins with an application to the probate courts in Cyprus and the assets of the deceased’s estate are distributed to the rightful heirs by the executor according to succession law and the wishes of the deceased who has left a Will.
There is a named executor in the Will who resides outside Cyprus. The executor cannot come to Cyprus to execute probate. What can we do?
This is not a problem. If probate was commenced in a country outside Cyprus, say in the UK then one way this matter can be overcome is where the executor named in the Will may appoint a representative in Cyprus to act on his or her behalf and that representative can apply to the court of Cyprus for continuance of the probate in Cyprus through a process known as ‘resealing of the grant of probate’.
What if there is no Will and there is property in Cyprus?
If administration of the estate has been commenced in the U.K it can be continued in Cyprus with a process known as ‘resealing’ of the grant of administration issued in the UK or any other commonwealth country. Alternatively an application for administration of the estate can begin outright at the probate registry in Cyprus if the deceased passed away outside Cyprus. Where one passes away outside Cyprus then the application for probate or administration is filed at the probate registry at the district court in Nicosia.
The grant of probate or administration are written orders of the court issued to the administrator or executor of the Will enabling them to deal with the assets of the deceased, close bank accounts and transfer real estate and investments and assets to those entitled to benefit from the estate.
How long does it take to conclude probate or administration in Cyprus?
This depends on the complexity of the Will, the amount of assets found in Cyprus but also on time is required to conclude tax issues. Typically probate should conclude within 3-4 months from commencement.
How do I physically take control of assets in Cyprus?
You, or your lawyers are bound to investigate and establish where moveable assets are kept. Typically letters should be sent to major banks in Cyprus once the grant of probate has been issued requesting information on the deceased’s bank deposits. The executor or administrator is bound to open a probate bank account in Cyprus and deposit the cash assets in there. Where there are land assets then that land will be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries through the land registry in Cyprus.
I reside outside Cyprus and I am named executor in a Will. Can I come to Cyprus and assume the role of executor or administrator of the estate of a deceased?
Yes this is possible, provided however that you are a permanent resident of Cyprus. There is a high level of responsibility on the shoulders of the executor to act in good faith and the law requires that the executor or administrator are resident in Cyprus and are accessible. The person named as executor in a Will may relinquish their position in favour of someone able to commence and conclude probate in Cyprus in such a case care must be taken in agreeing any fees related to the appointment of such a representative.
Disputes concerning probate and administration of the estate.
Disputes can arise prior or after the issued of a grant of probate or grant of administration. Disputes may arise between heirs, beneficiaries, those claiming as creditors of the estate, or claims may be made against the executor or administrator for mismanagement, wrongdoing or fraud on the estate.
Our firm’s experienced lawyers in probate disputes can advise and represent any aggrieved party in contentious probate proceedings.
Our firm can assert the legal rights of those who believe should be entitled to benefit from the estate by dealing with such issues as:
Lack of information and delays of the executor
Failure to commence probate or administration of the estate in a timely manner
Disputing the validity or propounding the validity of a Will.
Taking probate action and applying to the courts where an application for an injunction can be made to protect the assets and consequently interests of any person claiming a right to the estate.
Applying to the court for removal of executor for fraud or unsuitability or for the appointment of a preferred executor or administrator where someone dies intestate.
Applying to the court for a ‘limited grant’ to appoint a temporary administrator where no administrator has been appointed.
Email us on email@example.com or call on +357 22 33 61 00 for an initial consultation on Cyprus probate.