Wills / Succession Law | George Papantoniou & Co LLC

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George Papantoniou & Co LLC’ range of Services:

  • Creation and legal support to Cyprus International Trusts more info
  • Trustee Services
  • Drafting of Wills more info
  • Handling of inheritance cases more info


Brief Introduction:

A significant number of the arrangements of Cyprus' succession law are English, however some concepts for instance the one of constrained heirship is related with common law and Islamic nations and perceives the privileges of dowagers and close relatives.

The most important enactments related with succession law are the Wills and Succession Law (Cap 195) and the Administration of Estates Law (Cap 189). These laws apply to anyone who dies, having his/her domicile in Cyprus.


Broadly speaking every person has a ‘domicile of birth’ and this domicile can be changed to a ‘domicile of choice’. In order to make Cyprus a ‘domicile of choice’ a person has to prove that s/he is permanently resident in Cyprus and has the intention to remain in Cyprus until his/her death. There is a complicated system to determine “domicile” according to Cyprus law and expert advice should be sought before taking any steps to change domicile.

The concept of forced heirship

The Cyprus Laws do not allow testators to dispose freely of their property and assets by will. A substantial part is reserved for close relatives, and this part is called the ‘statutory portion’.

This portion is determined according to the closeness of the surviving relatives.

For example, if an individual dies leaving a living child or a descendant of a child, the statutory portion amounts to three quarters of the net value of the estate. As a consequence, only one quarter is left for the testator to dispose of as s/he wishes by will.

A will that purports to dispose of more than the ‘disposable portion’ is not invalid but the portion will be reduced proportionally so as to be limited to the disposable portion.

These forced heirship provisions require careful consideration and appropriate action ahead of death to avoid any undesired results.

One way of doing so is by establishing a Cyprus International Trust, which will not be affected by the succession and inheritance laws of Cyprus. This kind of Trusts also have other advantages such as tax exemptions.

Cyprus International Trust

In a case a person (physical or legal) who is not a permanent resident of Cyprus wishes:

- to stay anonymous while performing various transactions, or

- to accumulate wealth  with minimum or even non-payment of taxes, or

-to protect the property from creditors, or

- as it was said before, to protect his/her property from the succession and inheritance laws, or family law 

an establishment of an International Trust may be a solution.

By establishing a Trust, a settlor transfers property to the trustee, to hold, for an indefinite period as the case may be, for the benefit of the beneficiary.

Beneficiary may be the same settlor or other persons appointed as such by him/her.

There are various kinds of trusts which can suit all your needs.

Trusts can be irrevocable or fixed.

It has a number of benefits, among other:

  • Mitigation of taxes
  • Protection of property
  • Confidentiality
  • A person who subsequently becomes a resident of Cyprus can still enjoy benefits of Cyprus International Trust scheme

Creation of Wills

There are several formalities in making a Cyprus Will and attention should be paid as the Laws are very strict in the adherence of these formalities. Any divergence from the rules, however insignificant, can be fatal for the validity of the will.

The formalities of a will in Cyprus are different to the formalities of the UK.

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