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Everything you need to know about Turkey’s inheritance law

Among the many subjects that investors in the Turkish real estate market need to be well informed about before purchasing property is the issue of inheritance law, which many find overwhelming due to the vast number of topics they need to read up on before they’re able to form a realistic idea about this important aspect of owning property in a foreign country.
Inheritance is a major legal concern for investors that guarantees their ability to safeguard the future of their property before making the decision to follow through with their investment.
Thankfully, this mind boggling issue can be solved by asking all the right questions beforehand, and here we list a comprehensive guide complete with answers to the most common questions you should be asking before buying your property.

What principle governs Turkish inheritance law?

The principle that governs the Turkish Inheritance law is summed in lex rei sitae (i.e. property is regulated by the laws where it is located), which in turn means that Turkish law is applied when it comes to ownership of a property that is located within the territories of the Republic of Turkey.
Another important principle that investors must know in advance is one that states that a movable property is liable to the national law of the deceased’s own country, while an immovable property of a deceased person is subject to the law of the Republic of Turkey.

Who are the direct heirs of an estate in Turkey?

In the case of the absence of a notarized will, the legal heirs of an immovable property in Turkey are determined through the following order of succession:

  • The first heirs of a deceased person are the children and the spouse who receive a set share
  • If the deceased doesn’t have any direct descendants, then the parents are the reserved heirs
  • If the deceased’s parents are no longer alive, then the siblings are next in line to inherit
  • The last of a deceased person’s heirs according to the order of succession as per Turkey’s inheritance law are the grandparents and their children

If the deceased is not survived by any of his next of kin, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse, and in the case of leaving behind no surviving heirs, the deceased’s estate then becomes the property of the Turkish State.

Are there any taxes? How are they calculated?

According to regulations in Turkey, if a person dies with assets in the country they will be liable to an inheritance tax.
However, compared to other countries in the EU, the inheritance tax rate in Turkey is relatively low and is subject to how much an investor’s assets in the country are worth, meaning that a lower tax percentage is applied to estates of lower value.

The inheritance tax rates also usually vary between 1% and 30% depending on the residence status of the recipient and the location of the property.
The following table demonstrates the inheritance tax rate in relation to a property’s value in Euros (€):

  • 1% for values Up to €53,333
  • 3% for value of €170,000
  • 5% for value of €426,667
  • 7% for value of €926,667
  • 10% for value of €926,667

When is the inheritance tax payable?

According to Turkish inheritance law, the tax is payable over three years, in May and November of each year.

Can one make a will in Turkey?

As is the case in many countries across the world, in Turkey one can choose to create a will in which he or she may decide to whom they wish to leave their assets after passing away. The Turkish Civil Code specifies this matter in detail: For foreigners, in order for a will to be considered valid, it must be made in compliance with the Turkish law.
If one decides to make a will, the conditions stated by Turkish law imply that they must be over fifteen years of age and possess their full mental capacity. The will can be rendered in three different forms, either official, notarized by the Justice of the Peace and signed by two witnesses , or handwritten or oral. The will must be written in the testator’s handwriting in which the place and detailed date must be mentioned and tailed with the signature of the concerned individual. The divisor has to give the will to a notary or a court.

Can you ban someone from receiving inheritance?

As with regards to banning someone from receiving any inheritance, it is acceptable to do so in extreme cases, however, a reason must be provided to the court when a divisor decides to ban a legal heir from acquiring any inheritance. Additionally, the banned heir cannot sue the testator for this decision.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with Turkey’s inheritance law, you can proceed with buying your property with confidence after the ambiguity surrounding the future of your investment has been cleared.

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