Inheritance Law in Turkey
Obviously inheritance law is one of the main concerns for foreigners living in Turkey, since a lot of people own properties here. Let’s talk about a deceased person owning a property in Turkey. What happens after he or she dies?
The totality of the property belonging to a person is called their estate (tereke).
Under Turkish Law, following the death of an individual, his or her entire estate passes to the heirs. So, how is this affected by either the operation of law or the testamentary will of the deceased?
In terms of immovable properties in Turkey, the ‘heirs’ are the first- in- line descendants of the deceased person. If the deceased person left no descendants, the parents, as second-in-line heirs, will inherit the estate. The inheritance rights of descendants will devolve to their own descendants if any of the former is no longer alive when the inheritance takes place. The spouse gets 1/4 of the estate if he/she is an heir with the children. And he/she gets half of the estate if he/she is an heir with the parents of the deceased.
In terms of movables, the foreigner’s own country’s law would be applied in Turkey.
Appointed heirs (legatees) are heirs, expressly and specifically designated by the deceased in a will. The person can dispose of his/her estate at death by a will prepared during his/her lifetime. The testator can choose the heirs and the method of distribution of the estate.
In some jurisdictions, testamentary capacity is absolute. For example, in United States people may leave their estate to a favourite pet. Turkish Law imposes certain restrictions on freedom of testamentary disposition.
The rights of the statutory heirs are protected by law through reserved portions. The spouses, the descendants and parents have reserved portions. This means that even if someone leaves all of his/her property to a stranger, the statutory heirs may still get their reserved portions if they apply to the courts.
In order to register the estate of the deceased, an inheritance certificate must be obtained through the courts.