The Wills and Succession Law (Cap. 195) provides for a statutory portion that will have to be passed according to forced heirship rules.
Part one: Statutory portion
The below part is based on inheritance and succession law in Cyprus and discusses the difference between the statutory portion and the disposable portion of an estate.
Any person, provided that certain conditions are met, can draft a will, namely a written statement expressing their intentions regarding how their assets and estate are to be disposed after their death.
In Cyprus, the part of the estate that can be disposed of through a will is subject to restrictions.
For this reason, inheritance is divided into a statutory and a disposable portion:
- The statutory portion is the part of the estate that cannot be disposed of through a will;
- The disposable portion is the part of the estate that can be disposed freely through a will without restrictions.
In case there are surviving relatives, the estate cannot be disposed by will in its totality. The Wills and Succession Law (Cap. 195) provides for a statutory portion that will have to be passed according to forced heirship rules.
The exact proportion between the statutory and the disposable portion depends on the surviving relatives or inheritors, and the portions are calculated after the repayment of any debts or liabilities the estate may have.
The following examples serve to illustrate the above:
- If the testator has a surviving spouse and children, the statutory portion is fixed at three-fourths, and only a quarter of the estate can be disposed of through the will;
- If the testator has a surviving spouse or a parent, but no children, then the statutory portion is fixed at half of the estate, while the other half can be distributed through the will;
- If at the time of death, the testator has no children, no descendants of children, and no surviving spouse or parent, the totality of the estate may be disposed of according to the will.
Part two: What makes a person unworthy of succession?
According to the Cypriot Law on Wills and on Succession (Cap. 195), a person is deemed unworthy to inherit, if they:
- have been convicted of intentionally and unlawfully causing the death (or of intentionally and unlawfully attempting to cause the death) of the person whose estate is the object of succession;
- have been convicted of the murder or of the attempted murder of the child, parent, husband or wife of the person whose estate is the object of succession;
- by coercion, fraud or mental pressure have caused the testator to make a will or revoke an existing will;
- have obstructed the testator from making a will or altering or revoking an existing will;
- have submitted to a supposititious will to the testator;
- have illegally altered or destroyed the testator's existing will; or
- have aided or encouraged any person to commit any of the above acts.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.