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Intestacy – Dying without a Will in Turkey (Married Couples)

29th April 2016

Intestacy – Dying without a Will in Turkey (Married Couples)

Are you a foreign national with property in Turkey? and married to a Turkish or Foreign national?
The good news is that, Turkish inheritance laws do not discriminate against nationality. Any property which is not immovable i.e. money can be dealt with by the laws of the country of origin of the foreign national. Turkish legislation which deals with this is:
International Private Law and Procedure No.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.
However, when the subject is immovable property such as buildings, and land which is on Turkish soil then Turkish legislators have decided that only the laws of Turkey can be applied.
This can be an unsettling thought as Turkish law provides that the deceased's blood relatives can have a claim to someone assets.  The only real way to be able to prevent such as claim would be to have something in writing which sets out who someone would like there heirs to be. In legal terms this is someone's 'Last Will & Testament'.


Q: Leyla a Turkish national, and Peter a French national got married 5 years ago. They adopted a child together, and they both have one child each from previous relationships. Peter's biological child lives in France. Last year they purchased a summer home together in Cesme. Peter purchase a shop prior to marriage, and Leyla has a flat in Istanbul which was inherited from her grand father. Peter is worried that due to his nationality, he would lose his investment if anything were to happen to Leyla.

A: Inheritance laws in Turkey do not discriminate against nationality. If Leyla was to pass away without have created a will the following is likely to happen:

Any property which the couple had acquired prior to marriage would be split equally between their biological and adopted children. The law does not discriminate against biological and adopted children. Therefore, if anything were to happen to Peter, his shop would be split 50/50 between his adopted and one biological child. Layla's biological child would have no claim. In regards to the summer house in Cesme, Peter will retain his 50% share in the property, and the other 50% will be equally split between Leyla's biological and adopted child. Layla's first beneficiary's are her children. In the event of her death her children could ask for the summer house to be sold in order for them to take their shares. The same would apply for Peter's children, regardless of one being a French national.

If Leyla and Peter passed away at the same time, the child with most to gain would be their adopted child as s/he would have a claim to their parents assets whether jointly owner or individually owned.

Written by Ayse ERGEN - YellAli


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