WILLS AND PROBATE
Whether you are a permanent resident or someone who only visits a few times a year, we recommend that you have a will prepared if you own a property in North Cyprus or have any other assets (for example, bank accounts or vehicles) in North Cyprus.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the importance of having a North Cyprus will. For example, many people are unaware that if you die intestate (i.e. without leaving a Will) your spouse will not automatically inherit your estate, if there are surviving children (in which case a surviving spouse will only receive a 1/6th share and the remaining 5/6th will go to any surviving children). In addition, many people are unaware that the children of unmarried parents are often excluded from the North Cyprus estate of their father if their father dies intestate. Further, under TRNC law, unmarried partners are also excluded from the estate of their partner if their partner dies intestate.
Furthermore, any person who was born, or whose father was born, in the UK or any Commonwealth country has complete freedom of disposition of their movable property (i.e. personal possessions or money) and immovable property (i.e. land or real estate) by Will. However, TRNC nationals and other foreign nationals do not have complete freedom to dispose of their entire Estate in this way. For TRNC nationals, the amount of their assets - movable and immovable - which they can leave by Will depends on which living relatives a person has at the date of their death. Other foreign nationals are entitled to leave their movable assets (i.e. money, personal possessions) by way of their Will. However, under TRNC law, the amount of their immovable property (i.e. land, real estate) which they can leave by Will depends on which living relatives a person has at the date of their death.
Preparing a North Cyprus will requires skill and experience and detailed knowledge of the legal restrictions on the freedom of disposition by will in certain circumstances. Our probate lawyers have expert knowledge of the relevant legal provisions regarding wills in North Cyprus and are highly experienced in the drafting of North Cyprus wills. We take the time to listen to your requirements and ensure that your will is drafted carefully to meet your needs. We will explain any legal provisions or restrictions on freedom of disposition which are applicable to your estate and can advise on the options open to you.
In association with our recommended financial advisers, we can also provide advice on estate and inheritance tax planning which is especially important for those with assets both in Northern Cyprus and abroad as there are no double taxation treaties in place between the TRNC and most other jurisdictions.
In addition to will drafting and estate planning, our probate lawyers are able to provide advice on the establishment and administration of the estate of a deceased person, including completing the relevant processes to obtain the Grant of Probate for the Estate of the deceased, completing the necessary application to the Tax Office for the inheritance tax assessments, assisting with the registration of the deceased’s assets into the name of the beneficiaries or distributing the deceased’s assets among the beneficiaries. We have also dealt with a number of contentious probate matters over the years, including applications by originating summons for a decision on any issues concerning the estate or for a decision on the entitlement of any person in the estate of a deceased person, applications contesting the validity of a will, applications for the removal and replacement of the Administrator and ‘hotchpot’ applications to enable assets gifted by the deceased during the deceased’s lifetime to be taken into consideration when calculating the shares of the legal heirs in the estate.
It is a common misconception that all law firms in the TRNC charge a percentage of the value of the Estate for assisting with probate matters and/or acting as the Executor of an estate. However, at Naomi Mehmet & Partners, we charge a fixed fee depending on the complexity of the Estate and not a percentage of the value of the Estate. If you require any further information regarding our fees for drafting of wills and/or assisting with probate matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.