In order to provide a simplified legal framework for people who have private and financial interests in at least two countries, both within and outside the European Union, EU Regulation 650/2012 (or “Brussels IV”) was adopted on 4 July 2012 (the “Regulation”).
The Regulation entered into force on August 17th, 2015 and is applicable to the succession of persons who die on or following this date.
Briefly, the Regulation provides for the following:
- The principle: application of the law of the State in which the deceased will have his/her habitual residence at the time of death, even if this is the law of a State that is not a member of the European Union. A single law will govern the whole succession.
- The exception: when, exceptionally, the circumstances present a situation whereby, at the time of death, the deceased had manifestly closer connections with another state, the prevailing law will be that of this state.
- The option: possibility to choose the law of one of the states whose nationality one possesses. This option is set out in a declaration in the form of a ‘disposition of property upon death’.
Under the Regulation, the courts of the EU country where the person usually lived at the time of their death will deal with the inheritance and will apply the law of that EU country. However, citizens can choose the law of their country of nationality to apply to their estate, whether it is an EU or a non-EU country.
Judgments on inheritance given in one EU country will now be automatically recognised in other EU countries.
In addition, a European Certificate of Succession enables people to prove in other EU countries that they are the heirs, legatees, executors of the will or the administrators of the estate.
- a cross-border inheritance will now be settled by only one court and only one law will apply to it. The new rules provide legal certainty and enable a faster and easier resolution of cross-border inheritances.
- EU citizens can now choose to have the law of their country of nationality applied to the totality of their estate, even if they live in Cyprus and have assets in different countries.
For further information on Cyprus wills, succession, inheritance, administration of estates and probate laws see the website of Cyprus Probate Lawyers.