a will in trnc - lawyers about making a will

Whether you are a permanent resident or someone who only visits a few times a year, we recommend that you have a separate Will prepared if you own a property in the TRNC.

Your Will prepared outside the TRNC will not cover you for assets in Northern Cyprus. As a TRNC property owner and bank account holder, it would be wise to make a Will in Northern Cyprus. The major difference in this respect between TRNC law and other countries relates to the right of disposal and intestacy.

According to the laws of the TRNC, only people of British origin have the right to dispose the entirety of their assets by a Will, while other nationals, including the Turkish Cypriots, are only entitled to dispose a certain portion of their property by Will and the rest is distributed in accordance with the law.  Hence it is essential to obtain an advice from your lawyer to ensure that your assets or at least part of them will go to the person you choose.

What happens if you do not leave a Will in Northern Cyprus?

If person dies intestate (i.e. without leaving a Will), all assets of the deceased will be disposed in accordance with Wills and Succession Law.

If you are married and either you or your spouse dies, the surviving spouse will not automatically inherit all estate, if there are surviving legitimate children or grandchildren or blood relations.

Another key difference is the treatment of ‘partners’. Partners living like husband and wife in the TRNC do not have the same rights as partners e.g. in the UK or other countries. In the event of death, the surviving partner is not entitled to any share in the estate of the deceased partner. Therefore, it is essential that a Will is made to protect the interests of the surviving partner.

A Will outside TRNC

If a Will was prepared and signed outside the TRNC, the Probate Registrar at the District Court will not accept the registration of such a Will. As the result, it will be subject to a Court order to register such a Will after the tester dies.

A Will made in the UK by British nationals that covers a property in Northern Cyprus, may be valid if the following procedure is followed. In the event of death, a Grant of Probate firstly should be obtained in the UK.  After the UK Grant of Probate has been obtained together with various other original documents, we can apply to the courts in TRNC for the Grant of Probate to be re-sealed and re-validated for use in the TRNC. This ensures that the terms of the Grant of Probate and the Will can be applied to the estate here. However, this can be a lengthy and expensive process.

The simplest way to ensure that your assets are protected and to avoid any doubt about the validity of the Will is to prepare and sign your Will with a lawyer in the TRNC. This Will should cover your assets and property in the TRNC. It should be separate to any other Wills you may have made in any other country covering your property in that country.

 How to make a will in the TRNC?

In our first meeting we will provide you with details of all the factors you will need to consider, namely beneficiaries, assets and belongings to be bequeathed and who you wish to nominate as executor.

Under TRNC Law, for a Will to be valid, the person making the Will must be over 18 and ‘of sound mind’. The Will has to be signed at the end by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must attest the Will.

You should lodge your Will with the District Court Probate Registry. A copy of the Will would then be filed with the Probate Registrar at the local District Court. The Probate Registrar checks that formalities have been complied with and will verify the identity of the testator. The Will is stamped and then filed at the Court.

FOR THE UK CITIZENS ONLY: If you have a copy of your UK Will and wish the terms of that to apply to your TRNC Will, then you should bring that with you. The wording of a TRNC Will can be similar to that of a Will prepared in the UK. It can be written in English, so it will be easy for you to determine any alterations or additions that may need to be made.

It is a good idea, if you are a member of the British Residents’ Society (BRS), to provide them with a note confirming that you have a TRNC Will and the name of any executor. During times of stress, when one partner dies, it can be useful for a third party to assist and the BRS can be a great help in these circumstances.

The role and responsibilities of an executor

In the event of your death, the appointed executor or executors of your Will need to apply to the Probate Registrar for a Grant of Probate (or Letters of Administration). The Grant of Probate/Representation is issued by the Probate Registry and gives the executor or administrator the authority to administer estate according to the law and the terms of your Will. Unless your lawyer is appointed as executor, your nominated executor(s) will need professional advice and help from a lawyer in this regard.

Keep your Will up-to-date

Finally, it is important to review your Will regularly to make sure that it reflects changing circumstances.  If there is a place of name/address changes, it is not necessary to rewrite a Will. However, it is essential to keep evidence of such changes and provide them to your executor, so he/she will be able to produce any documentary proof the Court might require.

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