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Turkish Wills, the Rumour and the Reality

15th June 2016

So you have been considering getting a Turkish Will but hear all sorts of stories from so many different people.

The most absurd of statements I have heard recently is.... "a will is not worth the paper it is written on" And now it's time to set the record straight!

Legal Document

A will is a legal document which represents someones last wishes. I repeat... a legal document! This document stands up in court way after you and I have passed. It is our voice when we are 6 foot under the ground.


The perception I am getting is that there is a huge misunderstanding amongst Turkish people, which in turn is spilling out into the foreign community in relation to wills. Lets separate the fact from fiction......

There are intestate laws in Turkey which govern how your property is divided if you decide not to have a will. However, if you decide to have a will then naturally intestate laws will be set aside. The courts objective is to establish the true essence of a will and not to strike it out.

The Turkish Way

Many Turkish people think that "wills do not exist" in Turkey and often do not see a need to establish one. Ask any Turkish family who have lost a loved one, and there is almost always a family dispute after the death of a family member over the division of the deceased's assets. The only way to avoid these tedious disputes is if the deceased had established a will in their life time. However, as humans we often like to ignore the fact that one day we will pass. Furthermore, people will often assume that the assets will be inherited by their descendants, therefore often do not think to create a will.

Turkey is still a very traditional country where children are born into wedlock, and according to the laws of Turkey, ones children are first in line to be heirs. HOWEVER....

Tricky Situations

....the situation becomes tricky if you fall into one of the following categories; your a spinster, divorced, no children, co-habitees, or you wish the heirs to be distributed to anyone other than your direct descendants. If you fall into any of these categories we highly recommend that you take steps to create a will.

Don't Gamble with your Guarantee

We have also been reading some posts on social media where there is advice a long the lines of,
"its better to transfer your property before you die"  - This to me is very concerning advice, as who knows when they will die?

If you transfer your property then what if the person you transfer it to does not have good intentions? You could be left with nothing to live on.

Your property, your assets are your guarantee for a good living, your inheritance is what is left, so I advise do not gamble with your guarantee. Furthermore, there will be tax implications to transferring of property, and assets so in the long run this would mean higher costs for you and your heirs.


If you would like to talk to us further regarding this matter, we are offering a FREE consultation. Please contact us at


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Comments (1)


21st June 2016 I have read a number of articles, including on YellAli, that say that Turkish Laws of Inheritance apply to property (immoveable property), meaning the distribution of Turkish property owned by a foreigner has to be as set out in Turkish law and any other distribution will be ignored. Other articles have said that a foreigners will can distribute property as they wish, unless challenged when a Turkish court would apply Turkish law. HOWEVER your article above seems to argue that the deceased's intention as set out in his or her will, will be honoured by a Turkish court, as one or two other articles have also said. One lawyer has explained to me that Article 54/1b is often misunderstood and only means that settlement of immoveable property in Turkey has to be achieved through Turkish courts (not UK probate) BUT that the actual distribution will be as set out in the will, ie not necessarily in line with Turkish law. Your article seems to confirm this. So, which is correct?????

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