Elite Sinerji-Blog-Real Estate Inheritance Rules in Turkey


In Turkey, the process of transferring inheritance is governed by laws that depend on the nature of the inherited property. For movable property, the legislation of the country of the testator is applied, while for real estate, Turkish legal norms are in effect. Inheritance can be transferred either through a will or according to the law in the absence of a will.


Regardless of the testator's nationality, the same inheritance laws apply to both foreigners and Turkish citizens. It is important to note that owners of assets in Turkey should consider the restrictions of Turkish inheritance law, which prohibit bequeathing all property to a single person. Mandatory shares of the inheritance are established for children, spouses, parents, and siblings.


In the absence of a will, inheritance laws that establish the order of inheritance are applied. The first in line are the children, followed by the spouse, the parents of the testator, and so on. In the absence of relatives and a will, the property can be transferred to the state.


To receive an inheritance through a will, it is necessary to consider all the legislative norms of Turkey and ensure the testator's legal capacity at the time of drafting the inheritance disposition.


How is property divided in Turkey after death?


After the death of a property owner in Turkey, the inheritance is distributed according to clearly defined proportions set by legislation. If the deceased has a legal spouse and children, 25% of the inheritance is given to the legal spouse, and the remaining 75% is divided among the deceased owner's children.


In the absence of a spouse, the inheritance is divided equally among the children. If there are no children, then 50% of the inheritance goes to the spouse, and the remaining 50% passes to the parents of the deceased. In a situation where both children and a spouse are absent, the real estate passes to the parents of the deceased as second-order heirs.


Thus, Turkish inheritance legislation clearly defines the proportions and order of inheritance, considering the presence or absence of various categories of heirs.


What documents are needed to process an inheritance in Turkey?


To process an inheritance in Turkey, the inheritor must provide the following documents to the notary office:


- Passport and its translation into Turkish (the page with the owner's photograph is mandatory).

- Copies of the heirs' passports, translated into Turkish.

- Three photographs of the testator.

- Certificate of ownership of the real estate, where the testator is indicated as the owner.

- A hospital report confirming the mental health of the testator. The certificate must be submitted to the notary office promptly, as its validity period is one day. The testator visits the medical institution with a sworn translator, who will translate the doctor's questions.


After gathering the necessary documents, the owner of real estate in Turkey who wishes to make a will meets with the notary, having two witnesses and an official translator. Witnesses must have valid passports.


How is real estate transferred by inheritance?


In the Republic of Turkey, any individual of sound mind and having reached the age of 15 can act as a testator of real estate.


The drafting of a will requires its handwritten composition with the date and signature of the testator. The process of drafting and signing the document must be observed not only by the testator but also by two witnesses and a person authorized to conduct this procedure, or a state notary.


To inherit real estate, it is necessary to request a document confirming kinship with the testator from a court or the population department in the home country. A foreign citizen then applies for a certificate of the right to inherit real estate. With the inheritance order in hand, the heir approaches the notary, where the transfer of property takes place. From this moment, they become the new legal owner of the Turkish real estate.


Inheritance Tax in Turkey


In Turkey, when transferring inheritance or gifting real estate, both foreigners and Turkish citizens are required to pay inheritance tax. The procedure for paying the tax applies to heirs and individuals receiving real estate, and provides three years to complete payment. During this period, the tax is paid twice a year – in May and November, with the maximum payment period being three years.


It is crucial to emphasize that the rates of inheritance tax in Turkey are significantly lower than in European Union countries. The amount of tax depends on the value and location of the property and varies between 1 and 10 percent.


How long must one wait before selling inherited property?


If it is necessary to sell an inherited apartment before the end of a 3-year period, a 13% tax on its value must be paid. An important nuance is that the ownership period is counted from the day of the testator's death, not from the date of property rights registration. Taxpayers also have the right to deductions. The laws governing real estate inheritance for foreigners in Turkey are similar to those for local citizens.