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Brief Summary of Inheritance in Turkey (Turkish Will)

18th April 2016

Brief Summary of  Inheritance in Turkey (Turkish Will):

International Private Law and Procedures

There is no specific registrar for wills in turkey.

A will must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who must be deemed as adults and have legal capacity.

The testator must sign the will before a notary, magistrate, or an authorised officer.

Other forms of wills such as holographic and spoken wills can be deemed valid depending on whether they meet the qualifications under Turkish Law.  These methods are not preferred as they can be challenged and open to misconduct.

Circumstances under which a will can be revoked

¥    Execution of a new will
¥    Destruction of the will whether intentional or not
¥    Application by the testator to revoke the will
¥    Marriage of the testator unless expressly referenced
¥    Disposition of the assets referenced in the will
¥    Divorce revokes any rights as heir
¥    Homosexual marriages are not recognised in Turkey, therefore partners are not deemed as heirs


Under such circumstances, Turkish law applies the parental system.

The will is distributed amongst the next of kin of the deceased. The hierarchy which the Turkish law will apply is as follows:
1.    Descendants of the deceased
2.    Deceased’s parents and their descendants
3.    Deceased’s grandparent and their descendants
4.    The Turkish state

Children born outside marriage, share the same rights as children born within a marriage.

Freedom of Testation:

Turkish law provides that the testator is not allowed to dispose of their estate/assets as they please.

The law, favors/limits the distribution to close relatives in portions. This principle under Turkish law is known as “reserved portion” principle.

Namely, the  beneficiaries of the reserved portions will be ; the deceased’s descendants, parents, siblings and spouse.

Upon death of a spouse

The new matrimonial regime,  provides that any assets acquired in a marriage can be determined and allocated.

Upon death

A month after the deceased has passed an order for succession is produced for the heirs.

Invalidation of a will

If it is proved that the will is defectives, or there had been undue influence or that the testator was not in their right mind, then the will can be deemed invalid.


Foreigners are taxable for property within Turkey.

Foreign Nationals

International Private Law and ProcedureNo.5718
Article 20-

(1) The national law of the deceased shall govern inheritance. Turkish law shall apply to immovable property located in
(2) Provisions relating to the reasons of opening, acquisition and distribution of succession shall be governed by the law
of the state where the estate is located.
(3) The State shall inherit estates situated in Turkey that do not have any inheritors.
(4) The form of a testamentary disposition is subject to the provision of Article 7. A testamentary disposition executed in
compliance with the national law of the deceased shall also be valid.
(5) The legal competency to execute a testamentary disposition is governed by the national law of the executing person
at the time of the execution.

Immovable property is subject to Turkish domestic laws.

Lawsuits relating to Foreigners in Turkey

Article 43-
(1) Lawsuits related to inheritance shall be heard by the court where the deceased had his/her last domicile in Turkey,
but if his/her last domicile was not in Turkey, by the court of the place where his/her property is located.

Written by Ayse ERGEN - YellAli


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