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North Cyprus Trevor’s Tips for November 2019

By Trevor Hughes ….

Be Aware, Wills, it does Happen Here!!

Many people think by choosing a solicitor to manage their affairs after they die will help take the burden off their loved ones — but it can be the exact opposite, especially in Northern Cyprus!

When Maggie **** died, aged 64, in June 2013, her family thought her estate would be simple to wrap up. She had a valid will that bequeathed everything she owned, including her home and around £100,000 in savings, to her four children, equally.

But six years on, the four siblings have still not received a penny and now thousands of pounds in legal fees.

The problems stem from Maggie’s decision to appoint the solicitors who arranged the will as executors — meaning they are responsible for distributing her estate. Generally, appointing professional executors such as lawyers and banks is only advisable if there are no suitable family or friends to do it.

Friends and relatives are preferable as they can do the work free of charge, whereas professionals often charge costly fees. In fact, experts warn that acting as an executor can be so lucrative that some lawyers offer free or very cheap wills in the hope, they will make money later down the line. Maggie’s will had been written by the chosen solicitors many years before she died, naming the firm as executor.

After her death, the solicitor started gathering the necessary paperwork to apply for grant of probate — the official document you need before you can begin distributing assets. But in autumn 2013, the firm was taken over by an alternative solicitor and a new lawyer, was put on the case instead.

The application for probate was finally submitted in the summer of 2014, more than a year after Maggie’s death.

However, just a few months later in the autumn of 2014, the Solicitors was shut down by legal watchdog, the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

In an official statement, the regulator said this was done to protect the firm’s clients as it had ‘reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of a manager or employee’. By the time the family discovered what had happened, the new solicitor had disappeared after racking up a £7,200 legal bill.

And when the family contacted another law firm for help, they were told that until they found her, they could not serve her with the necessary High Court writ to remove her as executor.

In 2016, the family finally tracked down the solicitor working for another legal firm. But by then she had appointed another firm, to act on her behalf.

Many solicitors here are not quite what you think and do not have a conscience when dealing with their clients. Just because they have been recommended by the estate agent from which you purchased your property, it does not mean they will work in your best interest!

Remember to ask as many questions as possible, because there is no duty of care here, meaning it is up to you to ask questions, it is not their responsibility to freely volunteer information.

I have started the procedure of Probate and the solicitor I am using who is located in Lefkosa is an English qualified solicitor and straight talking. Because of the will both Mary and I had written the process should be “all done and dusted” by Christmas this year

Now, Mary, my wife has passed on, I must make a new will for my beneficiaries. It is not compulsory to register your Will in the courts here, but if you do not the reading of The Last Will and Testament costs an extra £500.00 instead of paying a very small Lira fee on registration.

New Style TRNC driving licences

Plans are underway for the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to tender for new driving licences that meet international standards and are valid internationally.

With the conclusion of the tender process, applications for new driving licenses will be accepted. Drivers’ licences that are valid for at least two-years will be replaced free of charge. Changing licences valid for less than two years will incur a fee.

Applications for driving licence renewal will also be accepted online. However, first time applicants will need to make their applications in person, so their signatures can be recorded electronically. The new driver’s licence will be delivered by private courier to the address given in three working days, upon request and a small charge, yet to be decided.

Brits May Face Problems Entering Cyprus Post-Brexit

British citizens who live in North Cyprus could potentially face difficulties if travelling via Larnaca or Paphos, a UK government advisory on Brexit says.

The Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus does not recognise the TRNC. It regards anyone who has entered the island via North Cyprus as having used an “illegal port of entry” and reserves the right to prosecute travellers.

In practice, Greek Cypriot immigration officers do not take action against citizens of EU countries, as the whole of the island has been deemed to be part of the EU since 2004.

However, some non-EU nationals have been prevented from entering Cyprus via the South if they stated that they intended to stay at hotels in the TRNC which were formerly owned by Greek Cypriots. They also face deportation if they entered via Ercan.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice says:

“If there’s no deal, the European Commission has proposed that British citizens would not need a visa for short stays in the EU, including Cyprus”.

“You would be able to stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.”

“The Republic of Cyprus does not recognise the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ in the north of Cyprus, nor residence permits issued by the administration there. After Brexit, the Republic of Cyprus intends to treat UK visitors, including those travelling to or from the north, as other non-EU nationals for visa purposes, unless they are registered as resident in the Republic.

“The current practice in the Republic is for non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to be admitted for 90 days, and for passports to be stamped accordingly. If that happens, the Republic of Cyprus authorities may count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90-day visa free total. If you overstay, you may potentially face difficulties at the airport on exit or re-entry.

“If you’re intending to stay for longer than 90 days, or your stay would take you over the 90 days in the 180-day limit, you may need to get a visa before you travel.”

Vehicle Accident Police Fines

If you experience a minor accident in your vehicle and no other person is involved, your insurance company may state in your policy, that the police must be called to attend the scene of the accident [ e.g. reversed into a wall or collided with someone’s wall]. Upon police arrival, they will start the reporting procedure at the police station and duly fine you 680 TL for driving without due care and attention.

If you are faced with this situation ring your insurance company and seek their guidance.

Capital Insurance had a large car repair to do for one of their customers a few weeks ago. Because of the size of the repair, it took our repairer over 7 weeks to complete, meaning he needed a hire car throughout the repair period. Fortunately for him, Capital Insurance provided a courtesy car throughout the period at no cost to him.

Most other insurance companies will only provide a hire car for 3 days up to 7 days, it is then up to the customer to find his/her own transport at their cost. If the customer of Capital Insurance had to find the money himself, he would have been over £700.00 out of pocket. No other insurance company comes anywhere close to this facility.

Temporary Residence Ruling W E F 23.10.2019.

By now we have all heard about the new Temporary Residence requirements which affects all non-Cypriot residents, irrespective of age.

The exceptions to this new ruling for people over 60 years of age, are, people who have a permanent residence [white ID cards], those who have a current and valid work permit, those who holiday here for no more than 90 days in a 180-day period.

It has been confirmed by the Prime Ministry’s Legal and Political Affairs Director Serap Destegul Redif that she is fully aware of the ambiguities and teething problems and is working to resolve them!

The message is clear, do not listen to people who think they know the system, do not panic as you have up until 23rd October 2020 to comply.

When all the uncertainty has calmed down and the system is up and running with the glitches ironed out, then make your application.

The border/immigration officers are being informed as to the exact ruling surrounding entry into the Country.

The requirement for the over 60s to undergo blood tests have been scrapped, the blood test requirement is for those who are under 60 years old and those making an application/renewal of a work permit.

If you are one the many 60 + people who in their wisdom continued to ignore the Gentleman’s Agreement and still apply for a current Temporary Residence Permit, applying for the new procedure will not be required until the current permit has expired, by which time all the commotion and panic should be a thing of the past!

Stay Sure Travel Insurance

Due to the uncertainty of Brexit, StaySure it seems, are no longer offering Travel Insurance from the TRNC.

Regards

Trevor Hughes

Do take a look take a look at the most recent CyprusScene.com weekly enewspaper

For any further information please email me through the contact box below or at Capital Bank in Alsancak.

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