Over the years a number of people have enquired about the necessity to have a ‘Will’ drawn up in Cape Verde. Some believe that if they have an existing ‘Will’ in their country of origin, there may be no need to have one drawn up in Cape Verde. However, it is all down to individual circumstances. A few expats that live on Sal Island have provide information about their experiences of having a ‘Will’ drawn up and legalised on Sal, these have been provided below.
Example 1: Making a Will as a non-married couple – December 2022 (by T.H.)
We wanted to ensure that should anything happen to either of us, the other person would be able to receive the property or sell it, as without a will, it would not be possible. We also wanted, that if we both died, that each of our sisters would received the properties. We had to get copies of their passports and get a NIF number for them, as anyone put on the will must provide this info. The NIF number is like a National Insurance number in UK, it is a tax number.
Making a will here is more complicated if unmarried, as you must make 2 separate wills showing 50% ownership of property(s). The Notary charges 13,700 for each will (known as Testament here in Cape Verde) I had tried to do the process myself to save on lawyers fees but the Notary insisted that we use a lawyer and a translator. Lawyers fees vary but translation fees are usually €50. I paid 500 euros for my lawyer but that included his fees, Notary fees and he translated. The lawyer will check the registration on your property to ensure that you are legally registered. You need 2 witnesses, again my lawyer provided. I had already brought my witnesses but the Notary wanted Portuguese speaking witnesses. Even though there is a Notary in Santa Maria, it is almost impossible to get a date of signature from the Notary. Therefore, we arranged for this to be done in Espargos. It took less than 30 minutes for the signing. You must be conservatively dressed and men must wear long trousers. We were told to come back in a couple of days for the Wills. We went on Monday for signature and Friday for collection. The Notary, the lawyer and we received a copies of the Will. Documents needed to give to the lawyer.
• Passports • Registration Deeds • NIF number
Example 2: Making a Will in CV – Experience of one investor on Sal – by S.B. – 2017
As I own a property in CV, I was advised to make a ‘Will’ in Cape Verde. I have made a Will in the UK, all very simple, a quick visit to a Solicitor, read it, sign it, job done, and at a reasonable cost of around £40. Not so straightforward or cheap in CV. My Will had to be translated into Portuguese and sent to the Notary in Espargos. Then myself and 3 witnesses had to go to the Notary with my passport, where the contents of my will had been handwritten in a Book of Wills, which had to be translated and read back to me, then I and the 3 witnesses had to sign the official book. All for a cost of 400 Euros. Expensive, but worth doing for peace of mind. Hope this info is of help. Regards SB
Example 3: Making a Will in CV – Experience of one expat using the Cartorio Office in Santa Maria to make her will – Nov 2015
Nov 2015 – Sheena wrote: Go to the Registry beside Hotel Pontao in Santa Maria. It cost 13,500 escudos to process your Will (around 130 euros). You need a copy of your passport, Residency if you have one and your NIF number. You need 2 witness and a photocopy of their passport and their NIF number. If you do not speak Portuguese, you need a translator, he/she must not be one of your witnesses, with a photocopy of their passport and their NIF number. You then write up your will in Portuguese and give them all of this and pay. They re-write it and then call you in to go over it and to sign. NOTE: Everyone needs to bring their passport. This part can take between 1-2 hours. After that you wait 5 days then come back and pick up your Will.
You no longer have to go to Espargos for much of your paper work, you can do it at the office in Santa Maria.
TIP 1: If you would like to make enquiries in English about forms and the type of documentation that is processed at the Cartorio in Santa Maria we have provided an email contact address for Telma Silva. However, if emails do not get answered you will probably need to visit the office in person. Email : Telma Silva: firstname.lastname@example.org
TIP 2: If you have to go to the Notory in Espargos you should be respectfully dressed in the following fashion: Ladies and gentlemen should not wear shorts or vests. Gentlemen should wear long trousers and a shirt with sleeves. Ladies should wear a dress or blouse and knee length skirt or blouse and long trousers. One gentleman who went to his lawyers office just before going with them to the Notory to have his Will legalised was informed at the Lawyers office that he should go and buy a long length pair of trousers to change into instead as his knee length chino tailored trousers as they were not acceptable.
TIP 3: If you are using Lawyer on (Advogado), obtain confirmation in writing, as to the costs. Whether the cost they give you includes the Notory Fee, or not? If not, what are the additional fees?
TIP 4: One person wrote: If you have your own two witnesses and they do not have a NIF number, get a copy of each of their passports and take the copies to the Finanza Office in Santa Maria and explain why you need a Cape Verde NIF number.
TIP 5: If you use a ‘translator’ ask for proof that they are recognised as an ‘officially recognised translator’ with the Notory on Sal. Some people act as translators but they aren’t ‘official translators that are recognised by the Notory for official translations, therefor their translations will not be accepted at the Notory.
OFFICIAL RECOGNISED TRANSLATORS – January 2023
As the information provided at official offices is quite vague or sometimes confusing, we are asking some ‘official translators’ recognised by the Notory on Sal, to try and obtain further helpful information about the process of writing and submitting a ‘Will’.
The attachment link below was a Power Point presentation produced in 2015, on property ownership for foreign nationals in Cape Verde. LINK: Cadastro Predial – English