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Making a Will in Turkey

1st September 2015

The legal formalities of making a will in Turkey can be quite complex and due to this complexity a number of wills are being annulled by Turkish courts. In order to avoid challenges from inheritors there’s a number of mandatory conditions that have to be observed when setting up the will.
The first of these conditions is that the person drafting their will has to be of legal age, in Turkey the legal age is 15. Many 15 years olds aren’t going to be thinking about setting up their wills but in certain cases they might need to. Overall though it’s highly unlikely this condition will trip you up.

The second condition and the more common to find a will challenged on is legal capacity. This means the person drafting their will must be of sound body and mind. If the person drafting their will is over the age of 65 they will have to obtain a doctor’s report showing they have the mental capacity to draft their will.

Age is not the only factor when it comes to legal capacity though as a person’s medical and mental condition will also have to be determined. Another condition is that a person making their will must be making it willingly and voluntarily. This means the person cannot be coerced into making the will or signing one under duress. 

Another few ground rules people should be aware of is that under Turkish law a will maker will not be able to fully control all their inheritance. There is a reserved portion of inheritance that the will maker cannot decided on, and the will maker cannot dispose of the reserved portion either.

And finally another important rule you should know is that it’s not directly possible to exclude your first level relatives which includes children and grandchildren. You can also not exclude your spouse or your second level of relatives, although you can exclude siblings.

Types of Will
Under Turkish law there are three types of will each is quite different and have their own legal requirements that must be fulfilled.

Official Will: This type of will must be notarised by a consulate general, notary or civil court of peace and two witnesses must also be present at the signing of the will. And like the person making the will the witnesses must also have legal capacity. They should also not be barred from public service or related to the will maker.

When making an official will the will maker can draft their wishes and apply to the authorities to make their will valid or they can opt to simply tell their wishes to an authority so they can have their wishes written down to be notarised.

Hand Written Will: Turkish law only recognises holographic wills if they are hand written as the name states, wills typed by computer won’t be accepted. The draft date of the will must be written on it, in case the will maker decides to make another later in life. The will must be signed by hand in order to validate it, and it can be written on any type of paper.

Verbal Will: A verbal will can only exist if it’s impossible to make any other type of will, this could be for example, if the person dies in a war or through an accident. If someone dies without leaving a will and two witnesses have heard the deceased last wishes they can come forward to claim the deceased made a valid oral will. The two witnesses should write down what the deceased wishes where and sign and notify the court.
They must do this within one month of deceased death. 

More information about Turkish inheritance law can be found on Todays Zaman news site by Columnist & Lawyer BERK ÇEKTİR.

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