Re-sealing of Grant of Probates or Letters of Administration in Cyprus


Cyprus has been traditionally a destination of choice for British nationals. British citizens frequently choose Cyprus not just for holidays, but also for relocation and for investment. In fact, a great number of acquisitions of assets is being recorded annually by Britons in Cyprus, including acquisitions of immovable properties.

What happens, however, when a person passes away, leaving assets in Cyprus? In cases where a person passes away having assets, either movable or immovable, in their name in the Republic of Cyprus, the process for the administration of the estate shall run through the Cyprus Courts. However, the process can be simplified in cases where a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration have been issued by a British court. In these cases, the British Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration shall be resealed by the Cyprus Courts, ultimately making the process simpler and faster.

In particular, the Cyprus Probates (Re-Sealing) Law (Cap. 192) provides for the sealing by the Cyprus Courts of Grant of Probates or Letters of Administration issued by any Court of the United Kingdom (UK) and of the countries of the commonwealth. This means that an attorney needs to be appointed, by virtue of a power of attorney, to represent the executors of the Will before the Cyprus Courts. The attorney will undertake to gather all the relevant documents for the Court application, and will also represent the executor or the administrator before the relevant Tax Department for the collection of the required tax clearances.

A Will becomes operative upon the death of the testatrix or the testator. Once a Will is probated through the issuance of the Grant of Probate, the rights and liabilities attaching to the estate of the deceased are deemed to be vested in the personal representative who is appointed by the Court in the UK through the Grant of Probate. Therefore, the Grant of Probate entitles the person named in the Will as the executor to distribute the assets of the deceased to people who are named as beneficiaries in the Will.

Following the resealing by the Cyprus Courts, the Grant of Probate or the Letters of Administration shall have the same force, effect, and operation, as if these had been granted by the Cyprus Courts.

Section 4 of Cap. 192 provides that “The Court shall, before sealing a probate or letters of administration under this Law, be satisfied that:

  • the probate duty has been paid in respect of so much, if any, of the estate as is liable to estate duty in the Republic;
  • in the case of letters of administration, the security amount is sufficient to cover the property, if any, in the Republic to which the letters of administrations refer to;”

Further to section 4, the Cyprus Court might require such evidence, if any as it deems fit, as to the domicile of the deceased person.

Some of the vital documents that need to be presented before the Cyprus Court upon the submission of a resealing application, are the UK Grant of Probate or Letter of Administration, the person’s death certificate, the Will, and the power of attorney signed by the executor or the administrator. Another important requirement is to present publications of the application’s notices stating the date of the court hearing in both the Official Gazette and in a local newspaper.

Once the Court application is examined, the Cyprus Court can proceed with issuing the court order which will authorise the attorney to proceed with further actions as regards the Cyprus estate with the ultimate purpose of transferring the deceased’s estate to the heirs, according to the deceased person’s last wishes. It needs to be highlighted that the said attorney carries personal responsibility throughout the process.

A very interesting legal aspect was analysed in a case of the District Court of Nicosia (Αναφορικά με τον ΕΥΣΤΑΘΙΟΥ, Αρ. Αίτησης: 818/18, 13/4/2020) where the Court pointed out that it is not authorised to appoint a different person as an executor or administrator but it can only cancel the resealing court order if an error is found.

The resealing process is vital as it enables the attorney to take the necessary steps for the administration of the estate of the deceased person, which is in Cyprus. Taxes and debts need to be paid, while money and other assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The involvement of the Tax Department is required as the relevant tax clearance certificates for each asset will have to be obtained in order for the transfer of the property to be concluded.

As a final step of the process, the attorney will have to present to the Court the Final Accounts in which all the actions and arrangements of the attorney are indicated in detail and with supporting evidence such as title deeds, bank transfers, invoices, and receipts. The consent of the beneficiaries in relation to the conclusion of the administration is also presented at this stage. The Court Registrar will examine the said documentation and if it is deemed that everything is in order, the Court Registrar will proceed with the closure of the administration file.

The beneficiaries, as stated in the Will in the UK, are thus greatly assisted and can be assured that all legal steps are taken in order for the estate in Cyprus to be distributed as per the deceased person’s last wishes.

The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Eleni Drakou, Partner at Limassol Office or Maria Georgiou, Associate at Limassol Office, Tel +357 25 363685 at mar.georgiou@kyprianou.com