Cypriot legislation regulates extensively through relevant laws and regulations the procedure to be followed in case a person dies without a will and is domiciled in the Republic of Cyprus or in case a person dies outside Cyprus without a will, but on the day of his/her death he/she had immovable property located in the Republic of Cyprus.
The relevant laws that regulate the inheritance of a deceased person’s property in Cyprus are the Administration of Estates Law (Cap 189), and the Wills and Succession Law (Cap. 195) and the Rules prescribed by these laws. However, there are provisions prescribed in other laws which, in conjunction with the provisions of the aforementioned laws, delimit the due process.
The property of a person who dies without a will may be distributed through the administration procedure to his or her relatives, always depending on the degree of kinship. Priority by law is given to close relatives, i.e., the remaining legal spouse, the children, or descendants of the children (grandchildren) or the parents.
It is essential for the relatives of a deceased person, before approaching a lawyer to start the administration proceedings by filing a petition before the Court, to record all assets owned by the deceased and obtain all relevant documents of the assets, such as title deeds, vehicle title deed, etc. Equally important is to record any debts and or secured debts of the deceased. Furthermore, all the legal heirs of the deceased should be recorded so that the administration can distinguish the share that each one is entitled to in the property of the deceased.
Once the above has been recorded, the heirs should obtain a death certificate and a certificate of heirs from the community mayor (mukhtar) of the deceased’s last residence. In addition, the heirs will have to decide among themselves who will be appointed as the administrator of the deceased’s estate in whose name the administration order will be issued by the Court.
Having recorded the above information and secured the above certificates, the heirs’ lawyer will prepare the relevant Application for Administration or otherwise the Application for Concession and submit it before the Court of the District where the deceased had his/her permanent residence.
The Application for Administration states the estimated value of the movable and immovable property of the deceased as well as the names and details of the heirs entitled to the assets and is accompanied by the death certificate, the certificate of heirs, the heirs’ written consent to the appointment of the administrator duly certified by the Community Mayor or certifying officer, the administrator’s affidavit, the guarantee in which the guarantor guarantees twice the value of the deceased’s estate and which document together with the administrator’s affidavit is signed before the Registrar.
Once the Administration Application is registered, then an application is submitted to the Tax Commissioner for the issuance of a Certificate and then the Administration Order is issued. The Administrator of the Estate within a time specified by the Court shall prepare and submit to the Court an inventory of the decedent’s property. The inventory shall state all the movable and immovable property of the deceased’s estate with its value as well as his debts.
Finally, the Administrator will be asked to provide interim and final accounts as to how the property was managed. It is important that all relevant receipts be attached to the accounts.
The Administrator is obliged to collect all the deceased’s assets from which to cover any debts and to distribute the remaining assets to the deceased’s heirs in accordance with the law. When the administrator has entered the final accounts and they are approved by the Court then the administration is closed, in other words it is completed.
The content of this article is informative in nature and is intended to provide a general guide in relation to the topic. For specific cases we encourage you to contact our office by telephone on +357 24 727313 or by emailing [email protected] and seek the advice of our specialist lawyers.