Wills and succession law
A question frequently asked by foreign national is, ”if we do not make a will, when we die, does our property in Northern Cyprus go to the TRNC government instead of to our wife, children or other relatives?
The answer to this question is categorically No. If you do not make a will, your property is inherited by your surviving spouse and your legitimate children. According to Wills and the Succession Law of the TRNC, every TRNC citizen or foreign national who is over 18 years of age and in sound mind can make a Will, subject to the compliance of the procedure of the law. TRNC citizens can only dispose of a certain proportion of their movable and immovable property by making a Will according to the amount (disposable portion) which is allowed by the law. i.e.
A TRNC citizen deceased, leaving a spouse and children can leave up to only 1/3 of his estate to whomever they wish, but 2/3 of his/her estate must go to his/her spouse and children.
But, British people whether domiciled in the TRNC or not who were born in the UK and/or whose father was born in the U.K or in a Commonwealth county can dispose of the whole of his/her Estate by leaving a Will, to whomever they wish. However, other foreign nationals whether domiciled in the TRNC or not, can dispose of the whole of their movable property (i.e. money, shares, dividends, furniture, vehicles etc.) by making a Will to whomever they wish but can only dispose of their immovable property (i.e. land, house, buildings etc.) only in the proportion allowed according to the TRNC law as stated above.
According to the Wills and Succession Law, if anyone dies without leaving a Will 1/6 of his estate will go to the surviving spouse and the rest will be equally divided among the deceased's legitimate children or descendants of those children. If there are no surviving children and descendants thereof, then half of the estate will go to the surviving spouse and the other half will go to the surviving parents and brothers and sisters. If the deceased has no children and decedents of children thereof but has a surviving spouse or parents, he can leave one half of his estate by making a Will to whoever he/she wishes. But if the deceased has no wife and no legitimate children or descendants of children and no parents, then he can leave the whole of his estate to whomever he wishes, through leaving a Will.
If there is no Will and the deceased has no surviving spouse or legitimate children or descendants of those children in the first level of heirs or no parents and brothers and sisters in the second level of heirs then the right of inheritance in varying percentages devolves down to the forth level of relatives. If there are no relatives up to the forth level then the estate goes to the state.
Unlike in most European countries, the status of the common law wife/husband is not recognized in the TRNC, and no mater how many years couples have lived together, if they are not legally married, on either of their deaths, none of their estate is left to the surviving partner. And again if a child is born to parents who are not legally married and even if the father has registered the child in his name, still the illegitimate child is not entitled to inherit any property left from his/her unmarried father. Under these circumstances any couple not being legally married, and wanting to leave their property on their death to their surviving partner and/or to their children, should ensure that before their death they make a Will leaving their estate to whomever they wish.
The cost of making a will in North Cyprus is 200 GPB. There are NO taxes payable when transfering the property according to the will. Finally, unlike as in the U.K. and other countries the TRNC does not have Tax Exemptions on the value of an estate left by the deceased.
The parents and grand parents and spouses, if they wish, in their lifetime, sometimes with a minimal Land Registry charge payable, can transfer their property to their children and grand children or to his/her spouse. The rates of Land Registry Charges payable on such property transfers by way of Gift are:
A. From parents to their children: 0.2%.
C. Between Spouses and between grandparents and grandchild: 0.4%
D. In any other case on gift or sale the rate is 6%.
However, there is no transfer tax (stoppage tax) payable to Inland Revenue on property ownership transfer from parents to children and between spouses. Also there is no Gift Tax applicable in the TRNC.
For more information, please, read our articles in "For Investors" section.