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How do I make a Will in Turkey?

28th December 2018

Inheritance and Wills in Turkey

If you have property or assets in Turkey it is important to plan how they are to be dealt with after you pass away.  To ensure the process of administering your estate in Turkey goes as smoothly as possible, it’s highly recommended you make a legal Turkish will.

Dealing with foreign wills and estates can prove to be quite complicated, and the law as it relates to you will depend on your individual circumstances.  It is important you seek legal advice for these matters.

Do I need a Turkish will?

A will is recommended in any country you reside in.  Its main purpose is to inform relatives and beneficiaries of your wishes regarding your possessions once you die.  As a written legal document it sets out who you would like to inherit your estate.

It is recommended that a will is made in most cases, to avoid complicated intestacy procedures.  These can arise when no will is in place and take a long time to resolve.

Turkish law regarding wills and inheritance are very different to those in the UK.  If you are making a will in the UK these differences will need to be addressed.

It is a very good idea to make a separate Turkish will dealing with any Turkish assets/estate you have.  Always consult a specialist lawyer to advise you as to what is best for your individual circumstances.  Our professional legal team at YELLALI can help your with all your will and inheritance requirements.

In the case of a UK and a Turkish will, it is important to ensure they do not revoke each other.  If you already have a UK will in place, it is important to inform the lawyer in Turkey of its content.

Who can inherit my Turkish Estate?

Under English law you can make a will under ‘testamentary freedom’ this means you can choose whoever you wish to inherit your assets/estate.  You do need this to be set out in a valid will.

Turkey has a system of forced heirship, which means that under Turkish law certain portions of a person’s estate must be left to particular relatives and this cannot be overridden by their will.

Turkish law does state that your national law can apply to your assets/estate rather than Turkish law.  If an English national, they would have ‘testamentary freedom’ to leave their assets/estate to whomever they choose.  There may be other factors involved if you are married to a Turkish citizen and resident of Turkey (Turkish law may still apply to you).  We can help advise you on these matters and make the entire process as smooth as possible.

Do I need to pay Inheritance Tax?

This depends of several different factors and your individual circumstances.

If you are “domiciled” in the UK at the date of your death your estate will be liable to UK inheritance tax (IHT).  IHT charged in the UK is 40%, although every individual is entitled to a tax free sum (this is also known as ‘nil rate band’) which is £325,000 or up to £650,000 for married couples.

Meaning the combined value of your worldwide estate is calculated and only the amount that is over the tax free sum will be taxed at the 40% rate.  This tax is paid before being distributed to the beneficiaries.

It is important to always obtain professional legal advice as the question of whether or not a person is domiciled in a particular country for inheritance tax poses an extremely complex question.

Worldwide estate includes the total value of your English and Turkish assets and any other assets you may have in another country.  This can also include gifts made before death in the past 7 years.

If you are not domiciled in the UK, UK inheritance tax will only apply to your assets that are located in the UK.

Turkish law rules that inheritance and gift tax must be paid by the beneficiary not the estate as done in the UK.  The amount of tax payable depends on the total value of the assets/estate and it is possible that both IHT and Turkish tax are payable at the same time.  Our professional lawyers will be able to advise you on this.

Who can administer my Turkish estate?

Under UK law the ‘executor’ if appointed in a will or ‘administrator’ if appointed by law is in charge of administering the estate and is legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s assets

Under English law the personal representative (“executor” if appointed in a will or “administrator” if appointed by law) is in charge of administering the estate and is legally entitled to deal with the deceased’s assets. They will be responsible for carrying out the administration of the estate, ensure the payment of any debts, funeral expenses and tax and will have to account to the beneficiaries in respect of the assets in the estate.

Executors can still be appointed under Turkish law to deal with assets and Estate in Turkey.

If there is no will in place, or no executor, the administration of the assets/estate are the responsibility of the beneficiaries.

Do I need to use a lawyer in Turkey?

It is important for English executors and any English solicitors dealing with your will involving Turkish assets/estate, to have independent legal advice from a Turkish lawyer (experienced in Turkish succession law.)

The Turkish lawyer can advise you, to ensure you understand the entire process and documents required when dealing with Turkish assets/estate.

You can appoint a lawyer under Power of Attorney to deal with all the procedures on your behalf in Turkey.

How long will the process take?

A Turkish will can take from 12 months (most common situation) up to several years to fully administer if there are assets/estates in more than one country.  To make the process as quick and stress-free as possible contact us for a consultation.

Contact us at YELLALI for a consultation on all of the above:


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