Assets in both Cyprus and the UK
Cyprus is a melting pot of nationalities and especially British expats. While it is common to have assets in both Cyprus and the UK, you might have omitted to ponder the potential fate of those foreign assets in the unfortunate event of your demise. In this case, can your UK Will effectively cover these assets in Cyprus, or is a separate will required for each country?
A Will that is prepared in the UK, for example, will cover and protect your domestic assets, but you cannot rely on the assumption that your foreign assets will be protected by the UK Will. Every country has its own laws and regulations that apply to a deceased person’s estate assets such as forced heirship rules that apply in Cyprus.
Why you should have two separate Wills
- If there is one Will covering one’s assets both in Cyprus and the U.K., then there may arise difficulties involving/including conflicts between the governing laws of each country. For example, in Cyprus forced heirship rules apply contrary to the UK where the testator can leave the assets to the person of their choice.
- If there is one Will covering one’s assets both in Cyprus and the U.K., then issues may also arise in having one of the two Courts to admit the Will to probate if the original one is not made available to them. For example, if you choose to have a Will drawn in the UK, then the Court in Cyprus might not deem the copy of your UK Will valid as they will be in no position to assure that no amendment has been made to the original one. No separate Will may also result in delays caused by the need to translate and understand the Will in one’s other country respectively.
- The probate process will be more efficient for your executors as they can have the Cypriot and the UK lawyers guide them through, explain the differences in the legal process and avoid any misunderstanding of the law.
- When there are two separate Wills, the executors will be able to apply for probate in each Court of law (Cyprus Courts and the U.K. Courts) either simultaneously or independently of each other, making it easier for them to run the process at their own availability. This means that bureaucracy in one country will not prevent the probate of one’s estate in the other. However, if there is only one Will covering a deceased’s worldwide assets, then you have to ‘reseal’ the grant of probate.
Re-sealing is when a probate certificate was issued in another country. For example, in Cyprus, we take that probate certificate and lodge it in the Cypriot Courts to begin the probate process. The re-sealing process usually requires work to be carried out by the lawyers of the executor in the deceased’s original country. However, this process as above said might be more costly for the Estate as there will be two sets of lawyers to be paid, specifically the lawyers in Cyprus and the lawyers in the deceased’s home country.
It is highly recommended to seek advice from a lawyer in the country where the asset is located to determine how that asset would be treated upon someone’s demise, along with clearly knowing what your domicile is. It is also crucial that the testator informs each lawyer about the existence of other Will(s). In this way, your lawyer will include a fitting revocation clause in the will, which intends to revoke only the wills that apply in the particular home country.
What Polycarpos Philippou & Associates can offer?
At Polycarpos Philippou & Associates we understand the importance of peace of mind, especially for our foreign clients. We also realize that most people are overwhelmingly concerned about how to proceed with their estate planning worldwide. We are happy to assist our clients in acquiring a valid Will and can offer them tailor-made solutions for estate planning to ensure that your assets will go to the persons of your choice.
For more information contact us on [email protected]
*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or to address all circumstances that might arise. Individuals and entities using this document are encouraged to consult their lawyer.