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Last Will and Testament
The Death of a Spouse or Partner in North Cyprus.
If you or your partner do not have a Will, drop what you are doing now ! Switch off your computer, secure the animals, lock up the house, or apartment, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and head for the nearest Lawyer's office and make a Will, both of you. Do it now ! Arrange to leave all your assets in North Cyprus to each other.
If you don't, you will regret it when one of you pops off !
Giving this awful prospect some thought as the inevitable looms, will probably be the wisest decision you make about living in North Cyprus. Why ? Quite simply, burdensome bureaucracy, commonly referred to as RED TAPE.
As you would expect, the North Cyprus Authorities will adhere strictly to the letter of the law and in the event that you, or your partner die intestate (without a will), you, or your partner may have to go over and through endless hurdles and hoops to prove joint ownership, or next of kin status, so that the residue assets of your partners estate are yours - that you are the beneficiary of goods, chattels and other assets of the deceased; that they are properly & legally yours !
You should also appoint each other as each other's executor, together with a close and trusted friend of relative. This will ease matters somewhat as you begin to finalise the deceased's legacy.
It is of course possible to leave a legacy to others in your will; this will cause some difficulty & time in the probate office, but it has proved to be handled satisfactorily in the past.
You should also appoint each other as each other's executor, together with a close and trusted friend of relative. This will ease matters somewhat as you begin to finalise the deceased's legacy.
But what if I already have a will in the UK ?
This could be the source of more confusion, red tape & a significant loss of time. Be on the safe side, have wills drawn up here by an Advocate, who will then have your will deposited with the Divisional Registrar; there are costs involved. Your UK Wills should refer to UK held assets, which need not be referred to in your North Cyprus Will. But beware ! Your latest Will can be regarded as your definitive legacy; so make sure each of your two Wills, the North Cyprus Will and the UK Will are both relevant and are to be acted upon separately, irrespective of date.
However, you can circumvent all this red tape nightmare by having all your North Cyprus substantial assets in joint names: property deeds (Koçan), rental agreements or leases, cars & motor bikes, bank accounts, jewellery & other valuables will be much easier to access after a death if everything is jointly owned. This particularly applies if there are medical bills, incurred prior to death, to be paid; for example, you may have to pay-up before the hospital will release the body for burial. There may be other costs attendant to the loss of a loved one which must be paid prior to the visit to the cemetery. Should your bank accounts be in your joint names, access to cash is easy and instant.
So, again, should all your key assets not be in joint names, drop everything now and go and get it sorted out !
Remember, there are no undertakers in North Cyprus, so if your partner, a relative or close friend dies and you find yourself making arrangements, you will need guidance & assistance.
You can source helpful information from the Foreign and Commonwealth office, or the British High Commission in Cyprus. Other organisations such as the British Residents Society offer invaluable advice on their web site and there are a number of benefits to Members. There are also voluntary organisations such as the British Cemetery Committee (Kyrenia) and (Famagusta) and the Foreign Residents Cemetery Committee (Kyrenia) who may also be able to help. These voluntary organisations are easily found & contactable on-line, however, contact by telephone is simpler and quicker in times of grief and emergency. They will arrange all elements of the funeral; and guide you through the whole administrative process, from death to burial and beyond. Contact details for all are available on the link (below).
Necessarily, there are monies involved such as the cost of the burial plot, the funeral (including a celebrant, who may or may not be an ordained Priest), grave maintenance (ongoing), the cost of administration at the hospital and / or District Office (certification etc); there may be other costs should complications arise - the aforementioned organisations will prove to be most helpful with all this 'stuff' - very welcome assistance at a time of grief and perhaps vulnerability ! There are no grants available from any source.
There are no facilities for cremation in Cyprus, yet. So, the deceased have to be buried on the island or flown to the UK (or) for cremation - expensive !!
It is usual for the body to be collected from the morgue and transported to the burial site and then placed in the grave prior to a funeral service taking place. Following the ceremony, you should wait for a minimum of a year for the ground to settle prior to arranging for a monument or gravestone to be erected. Don't jump the gun; the ground moves in Cyprus, especially in the hilly areas and slopes to the north of the Kyrenia 'Five Fingers' Mountains, particularly after heavy winter and spring rains. Now, you don't want an expensive monument, lovingly engraved & erected to the memory of a loved one, to lean or fall over, do you ? Some have, so wait for the ground to stabilise; you can place a temporary memorial together with a weekly change of flowers until the time is right for the permanent gravestone to be sited.
Thereafter, the responsibility for maintaining the grave is yours; the various committees plan for cemetery maintenance, gardening and landscaping etc, but your partner's plot is down to you !
Continuing reading: North Cyprus Will and Probate
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Death and Dying in North Cyprus - important contact details
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